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arenas, JHetfcv*** tjte WLniWn States. 


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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845, by 

Harper & Brothers, 
In the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New-York. 

• « * . 

•- . « 

.-•- •■ 

















The Texas Revolution is one of the most remarkable po- 
litical events ever recorded. A population of twenty thou- 
sand throwing off the despotic yoke of eight millions of 
people who claimed to be the mother state, and nine years 
successfully contending against such odds, with a steadily 
increasing ability so to do, makes the wonder of the achieve- 
ment. Wonderful as it is, it is far from being bloodless. 
Napoleon, in twenty years' warring with nearly the whole 
civilized world, did not lose half as many men in proportion 
to the population of France as has Texas. 

At the repeated request of many friends both in Texas* 
and the United States, the author offers to the public the 
following pages, in which he has endeavoured to give a 
faithful account of the most important incident of this san- 
guinary struggle, about which much has been said by the 
governments and people belligerant, as well as by friendly 
neutral powers. In doing so, as authorship is not his de- 
sire, he will make no apology for the manner ; though, 
should he interest the reader with a plain tale, told in a plain 
way — of Texian daring, of battles won and lost, of dun- 
geons and old castles, of imprisonment and hair-breadth 
escape's, of unparalleled sufferings and cruel murders — he 
will have fully accomplished the purpose of an impartial 
record while in a tyrant's chains. If the author has failed 
in giving the whole truth, it is in this, that a too studied 
regard for brevity has involved obscurity. The writer's 
position, also, in the expedition against Mier, and subse- 
quently as a prisoner of war in Mexico, placed him in 

* See Appendix No. VII. 


another difficulty — that of rendering it necessary to speak 
of himself. If his conduct throughout has been praise- 
worthy or otherwise, it would be unnatural to acknowl- 
edge the one, and immodest to avow the other. 

If the author has been uujust to Mexico, it is in failing to 
detail more at length her vices ; and for fear that a too 
charitable community would ascribe to him personal vin- 
dictiveness, and then more charitably balance that account 
with his ill treatment and sufferings, he has forborne in 
many particulars to say what, perhaps, he should have said. 

He will assert, that what he has said of the general deg- 
radation of that nation, of the wretched want and misery 
of the million, is far short of the whole truth, as a very late 
writer upon that country will bear witness ; and what he 
has particularized no one will question. 

This journal, imperfect as it may be, has been ready 
for the press since the writer's escape from the Castle of 
Perote, but has been kept back for fear of prejudicing the 
condition of his countrymen who were detained, until re- 
cently, prisoners of war in Mexico. 

The designs accompanying the work were executed on 
the spot by Charles M'Laughlin, one of the Mier prisoners, 
who participated in all the dangers and sufferings of this 
eventful expedition, and to whose genius great credit is due 
for their faithfulness to the life. 




President Houston's Conduct in the Campaign. — His Newspaper War 
with President Santa Anna. — His Treatment of the United States 
Volunteers 22 


General Vascus plunders San Antonio. — The Texians to the Rescue. — 
General Burleson elected their Commander. — President Houston's 
Orders to General Somerville. — His vacillating Conduct in the Cam- 
paign. — His Call of the Congress and Veto of the War-bill . 25 


General Woll takes San Antonio. — His Loss. — White Flag. — Capitula- 
tion of the Citizens. — Abduction of the Court. — His Protection of the 
Santa Fe Prisoners.— Battle and Defeat by Colonel Caldwell at Sala- 
do. — Battle of the Musquet. — Death of Captain Dawson. — Butchery 
of Texians after Surrender. — Law of Retaliation. — General Woll re- 
treats from San Antonio. — Murder of Dr. Smithers and Companions. 
— Death of their Wounded. — Cause of the Texians not charging him 
at the Rio Hondo. — Traitor Seguin. — General Burleson comes up with 
Re-enforcements 29 

chapter v. 

President Houston issues another War Proclamation. — Texians again in 
the Field. — General Somerville arrives in Camp and Disbands the 
Troops. — Volunteers Organized. — Burleson's Arrival at Camp. — 
Houston's Refusal to issue him Orders. — Volunteers press forward to 
San Antonio. — Somerville's Arrival. — Montgomery Troops Return. — 
Operations in Camp around Bexar 37 


General Somerville marches upon Laredo. — Gets into a Bog. — Taking of 
Laredo. — Neglect to Ration the Troops. — Camp moved in the Direction 



towards Home. — Council of War. — First Texian Flag planted west of 
the Rio Grande. — General Somerville starts Home. — Camp without 
Water. — Much Discontent. — Another War Council. — Speech from the 
General. — 200 Troops return Home, and the General marches with 
those remaining against the Enemy. — Cross the Rio Grande near 
Guerrero. — Get Sight of the Enemy. — Recross the Rio Grande for 
Home, and separate from the Main Body .... Page 52 


Colonel Fisher elected Commander. — The Writer appointed Commander 
of the Flotilla. — Descent of the Rio Grande. — Capture of Carancawa 
Indians with a British Flag. — Occupation of Mier. — Requisition for 
Provision. — Arrest of the Alcalde. — Enemy's Appearance. — Council of 
War.— Order of Battle ... 70 




White Flag. — Dr. Sinnickson's Statement. — Cavalry sent after our Camp- 
guard. — Camp-guard Escapes. — Major Bonnel's Death. — Return of Cav- 
alry. — Preparation to march for Matamoras. — Dr. Sinnickson left in 
Charge of our Wounded. — Their Treatment and Escape. — March for 
Matamoras. — Suffering of our Men. — Triumphal Entry into Comargo. — 
Camp in a Cow-pen. — The Bull Comedy. — Camp in a Sheep-pen. — A 
new Comedy. — Triumphal Entry into Rhinosa. — Ridiculous Show. — 
Arrival at Guadaloupe. — Congratulations to Ampudia. — Visit of Tom 
and Esau. — Triumphal Entry into Matamoras. — Texas Negroes in 
Matamoras. — Our Incarceration in Prison, and Note to General Am- 
pudia . . . ■ 112 


Preparations for March to Mexico. — Our Friends J. P. Schatzell, Marks, 
and Strother. — Protest against ironing our Men. — March for Monterey 
under charge of Colonel Savriego. — Held as Hostages for the good 
Conduct of our Men. — Interview with them in Prison. — Arrival at Cai- 
dereta. — Bad Treatment. — Letter to Ampudia. — Arrival at Monterey. 
— Character of Colonel Savriego. — Quartered at Colonel Bermudez's. 
—His Character and Family. — Interview with Governor Ortega . 126 



March for Saltillo. — Our Treatment. — Meet Captain Fitzgerald, Van 
Ness, and others in Prison. — Their Condition. — Arrival of Colonel 
Barragan with our Prisoners. — We march for San Luis Potosi. — Arri- 
val at Salado. — Our Men arrive at Aqua Nuevo. — Captain Dimmit. — 
His Death. — Barragan arrives with our Men at Salado. — Concerted 
Attack upon the Guards. — The Charge and Victory at Salado. — Order 
to shoot us. — Narrow Escape. — Arrival at Cidral. — Narrow Escape 
from the Populace. — Narrow Escape from our new Guards. — Arrival 
at Mataguala. — Treatment there. — Report of the Battle of Salado 

Page 140 


Our Men take up the March for Home. — Departure from Plan of Retreat 
by turning into the Mountains. — Unexampled Suffering. — Killing their 
Horses for Food. — Many Die, and others Surrender. — Marched back 
to Saltillo. — March to Salado. — Decimation, and dying Words. — Our 
Wounded, and those who remained with them. — March from Matagua- 
la. — Arrival at Count Zivyes. — Kind Treatment. — Arrival at San 
Luis Potosi. — Treatment there. — Correspondence with the Governor. 
— Notes to Captains Romano and Reyes. — The Valley of San Luis, 
Mode of drawing Water, &c. 158 


Hacienda de Plata. — Bad Treatment. — Xaral, Marquis of. — Horses ta- 
ken from us. — Made to walk over the Mountain. — Our Remonstrances 
with the Colonel. — Billy Reese and the Catholic Crosses. — Bugler, his 
Wife, and Sister.— Suffer for Water. — Punishment of a Soldier. — Do- 
lores. — Hidalgo. — Calleja. — San Miguel el Grande. — Hacienda of the 
Jesuits. — Burned Hacienda. — Lodged in a Stable. — The Comet. — Su- 
perstition concerning it. — Mexicans meet Danger with a Prayer. — 
Cruel Treatment. — Mexican Officers. — Lasso. — Lice. — Fleas : Advan- 
tage of. — Locked up. — Protest. — Quartered in a Corral. — Villanous 
Conduct of the Colonel. — Valley of Mexico. — Arrival at Tacubaya.— 
Description of. — General Jackson's Birthday. — Friends visit us. — Mr 
Cursin. — Captain West. — Mr. Packenham : Interview with . . 187 



Marched on Foot. — General Valencia, Wife, and Daughters. — Our Re- 
flections. — Hire Asses. — Pulque-drinking Officer. — Pass the Volcanoes. 
— Germans. — National Character of the Germans and other Foreigners. 
— Puebla. — Bad Treatment. — Lieutenant Velarde. — New Officer. — 
The Execution of General Mexier. — Acahita. — The Death of Mexier. 
— Texian Talent for Drawing. — The Honest Mexican. — Arrival at Pe- 
rote. — Meeting our Countrymen Prisoners .... Page 223 


Three Days' Grace before Ironed. — The Castle. — Its Strength. — Pres- 
ident Houston. — Orazabo. — Cofre de Perote. — Castle. — Its Situation. — 
Climate. — Description. — Bexar Prisoners. — Mexican Culprits. — Theft. 
— Rape. — Murder. — The Prisoner who killed a Priest for kissing his 
Wife. — Prisons of the Mier Men. — Their Treatment. — Ironed. — Mode 
of breaking off the Chains. — Tricking the Officers. — Santa Anna and 
the Blacksmith. — " Can't come it, Judge !" — Rations. — Ass's Milk. — 
Our Mess. — Cooking. — Best Way to make Coffee. — Ordered to Work. 
— Remonstrance to Minister of War. — To the Governor. — To the Uni- 
ted States Minister. — Release of Judges Jones, Hutchinson, and Mav- 
erick. — Treason of Robinson : our Denunciation of. — Anniversary of 
the 21st of April. — Sentiments, Songs, Tecolote, and Old Guts . 236 


Our fat friend. — Commissariat. — Statement of Rations. — Jake upon Cow- 
ology. — Snake-bitten old Cow. — Guts in Caricature. — Old Limpy : his 
Character.— Lousing. — Simeon Glenn. — Louse-racing. — What is an Old 
Soldier 1 — How to select the Racers. — An Argument in favour of Phre- 
nology. — General Austin in the Accordada. — The Old Sailing-master's 
Pipe. — Longing for Brandy. — Sutler, Wife, and Daughter. — Shifts to 
get Brandy. — Surprise of Senorito. — The Sergeant's handsome Wife. — 
Dan : his "Soldier's Tear." — A United States Midshipman. — How he 
avoided Work. — A Favourite. — " Long, long Ago." — His Heresy lost 
him Favour. — His intellectual Improvement. — Mr. Black, United States 
Consul. — Billy Reese. — Shooting of Captain Ewin Cameron. — Remin- 
iscence of Captain Cameron. — George B. Crittenden. — 0. Phelps. — 
Letter to President Tyler. — Letters from United States. — Letter to Mr. 
Calhoun. — Preparation for Emigration to Texas .... 262 



Preparation to Escape. — Procuring a Map of the Road. — Deceiving the 
Officer with Shaving Tools. — Work upon Breach in the Wall. — Letter 
to our Prisoners in Mexico. — Santa Anna's Birthday. — President Hous- 
ton's Orders to Colonel Snively prevents our Liberation. — Commodore 
Moore off Campeachy. — Prosecution of the Breach in the Wall. — Lay- 
ing in Provisions to Travel. — Last Visit to " Guts." — Quarterlero. — 
Voos, his Rheumatism, and Grunts. — All decline the Escape but Six- 
teen. — Left Papers with Colquhoun. — Note to Santa Anna. — Take 
Leave of our Friends. — Turnkeys. — Mode of Counting. — Locking up. — 
Deceiving the Sentinels : mode of. — Monte Bank. — Bull-dance. — Com- 
mence going Out. — Toowig. — Ike Allen : his Fall. — Character. — 
Beeve's Bladder. — Aguardiente. — Governor. — "Guts" and the Dia- 
logue. — Stone hung in the Hole. — The Herculean John Young. — 
Passing the Sentinels. — Their Hailing. — Our Response . Page 296 



Two hundred Yards east of the Castle. — Separation. — Parting Speeches. 
— Pass the Powder-house. — Meet with Reese and Toowig. — Divide 
Rations with. — Take to the Mountains. — Residence and Sufferings in. 
— Return to the Valley. — Charge of Cavalry and Escape. — Separation 
from Toowig. — Narrow Escape from a Precipice. — Make Coffee. — Ap- 
proach to Jalapa. — Our Distress from Sore Feet and Thorns. — Entry 
and Peregrination in the City. — Our Location in the Suburbs. — Re- 
entry, mode of. — Don : his Wife, and warm Supper. — Meet Toowig. 
— Residence in City. — Kind Treatment. — Robbers employed, and we 
delivered over to them in a dark Hollow 326 



Head Robber. — Coming to the Horses. — Signal. — Silence. — Winding 
around Precipices. — Narrow Paths. — Sure-footed Animals. — Puente 
Nacional. — Rio Antigua. — Lying in Swamp. — Hot Breakfast. — Lodg- 
ed in vacant House. — Gray-bearded old Man. — Meeting Robbers. — 
Enter Antigua. — Cavalry Officer and the Gray-bearded old Man. — 
Narrow Escape from the Officers and Guards.— Crossing the Ferry, 
and deceiving the Officer.— The Gray-bearded old Man's Exultation. — 



Taking the Road to Mango de Clavo. — Secreted for the Night. — Head 
Robber goes into Vera Cruz. — Our Location next Day. — Vessels at 
Sea. — Sand Storm. — Head Robber arrives with Don E. — Start for the 
City. — Storm and Separation. — ■Arrival near the City Gates. — Suspi- 
cions of the Head Robber. — Bad Night. — Don E. finds us next Day. — 
Our Entry into the City. — Parting with Robbers. — Valedictory of the 
Gray-bearded old Man. — Our Hiding-place. — United States Friends. — 
Dick Barclay. — Recapture of our Comrades. — A Look into the Castle 
after the Denouement. — Surprise, Wonder, and Astonishment. — The 
Governor, Guts, and the Children Page 343 


Preparation for Embarcation. — Captain Loyd and Steamer Petrita. — Pass 
Officers on the Mole. — Sup on board a U. S. Vessel. — Hailed by War 
Steamers. — Board the Petrita. — Meet my Companions and Dr. Sinnick- 
son. — Mexican Officers come on board. — My Berth under the Boilers : 
its Temperature. — Dialogue with Steward. — Passage and Arrival in 
New-Orleans. — Once more in the Land of Liberty. — "Tom and Jer- 
ry," " Hail Storm," and " Sherry Cobbler." — St. Charles Hotel and a 
Soft Bed. — Sail for the " Lone Star." — Land at Velasco. — Reese and 
Dan. — Our Remaining Countrymen in Mexico. — Their Destitution, 
Sufferings, and Deaths. — The Cause, and Treasonable Armistice with 
Mexico 364 


Reflections upon the Present Political and probable Future Relations of 
Texas, Mexico, and the United States. — Annexation. — Abolition. — 
Southern Boundary 382 

Appendices I. to IX. . . . . . . . . 437-487 



1 Mier Expedition descending the Rio Grande . . .71 

2 Battle of Mier 82 

3 Texian Charge upon the Guards, and Victory of Salado . .155 

4 Texians killing their Horses in the Mountains for Sustenance . 161 

5 Texians drawing the black Beans at Solado . . . .170 

6 Shooting of the decimated Texians at Solado . . .173 

7 Ground-plan of the Castle of Perote . . . . . .239 

8 Shooting of Captain Ewin Cameron ...... 285 

9 Guts and Ike Allen at the Calaboose ...... 324 

10 Escape from the Castle of Perote 325 

11 Separation after Escape ........ 328 

12 Narrow Escape from the Cavalry Officer at Antigua . . . 350 

13 Texians working upon the Road in front of the Archbishop's Pal- 

ace at Tacubaya ......... 370 



The election of General Sam. Houston, in 1836, 
as first constitutional president, over Stephen F. 
Austin, the father of his country, did not show less 
confidence in the virtues and capability of that de- 
ceased patriot. In casting their votes between these 
distinguished individuals, a majority of the electors 
of Texas voted for the former, believing that, from 
his military reputation, he would pursue an active 
belligerant policy, which, at a short period, would 
extort an honourable peace from our enemy. They 
feared in General Austin a more temporizing and 
pacific course, which they believed less calculated to 
procure the peace they so much desired. Whether 
these were just grounds of apprehension as to the 
policy of that wise and good man, must to some ex- 
tent remain a secret ; but in frequent conversations 
with the author subsequent to the election, he evin- 
ced a desire to give Mexico a reasonable opportu- 
nity of settling the dispute without farther recourse 
to arms, and, in the event of failure, to use the most 
energetic means to coerce it. 

Not so with General Houston. He was elected 



as the war candidate ; for the nation believed that 
a war policy would procure us a speedy peace. In 
this they were disappointed ; for General Houston's 
first official act was a visit to the captive president 
of Mexico, then confined at Orozimbo. This art- 
ful tyrant had the address to make him believe that, 
if he, Santa Anna, could see Houston's old friend, 
President Andrew Jackson, at Washington City, 
they would complete the treaty which he so solemn- 
ly promised the Texians. President Houston then, 
in violation of the expressed will of the Congress, 
at that time in session, smuggled him out of the 

When Santa Anna was once out of Texas, he 
laughed at his promise to Houston as neither legal- 
ly nor morally binding upon him ; and, though he 
made those promises with all the sanctity of deep 
contrition, and heartfelt interest for our young na- 
tion, yet the whole civilized world justified him in 
their breach, and wondered at the credulity of our 
Executive in believing that such a promise was in 
any way binding. 

In full view, which this farce brought upon us as 
a nation, President Houston persisted in his " peace 
policy," and his next step was the disbandment of 
the best-appointed army Texas ever had in the 
field, and a total neglect of the law of Congress or- 
dering him to build two steamers, one sloop of war, 
and two schooners. Thus ended President Hous- 
ton's first administration, with offence enough to 


vex the enemy, and not energy enough to make him 
respect us ; and it closed with a universal national 
conviction that a different policy was necessary. 
That national conviction called to the adminis- 
tration of the government General Mirabeau B. La- 
mar, a gentleman whose gallant bearing at San Ja- 
cinto, and general chivalry of character, was a sure 
guaranty that in him it would be fully carried out 
President Lamar did more towards carrying it 
out. He built the navy, and maintained the mas- 
tery of the Gulf; he beat back the Indians and ex- 
tended the frontier ; but, unfortunately for the na- 
tion, his administration closed without that bold and 
energetic strike upon our Mexican enemy which 
would at that time have given us peace. This war 
policy was advocated by the Hon. Branch T. 
Archer, then Secretary of War and Navy, and sus- 
tained by Vice-president Burnet, the Hon. James 
Webb, attorney-general, Major-general Felix Hu- 
sten, and other distinguished individuals. Thus 
closed the sixth year of this quasi war, which had 
involved the nation in heavy debt, depreciated to 
a fearful extent the value of individual property, 
and by the ravenous operations of the courts, sher- 
iffs, and constables, had brought misery and distress 
into the bosom of many a good family. An infatu- 
ation seemed to possess the land injurious as it was 
lasting. Most men seemed to think, when not in 
the immediate sight of the Mexicans, that the war 
was at an end. The dockets of the courts were 


crowded with foreign claimants in the absence of 
all treaty authority upon the subject, and vast 
amounts of property changed hands from those who 
had won and were still willing to fight for the coun- 
try, to those who never drew a blade or contributed 
a dollar in the war. By thus acting, as though the 
war did not really exist, the chief government of 
the country was the government of the courts ; not 
one of protection, but, under the peculiar circum- 
stances of the times, of destruction to the many ; 
because the establishment of this branch of the gov- 
ernment, which presupposed a close of the revolu- 
tion and a final accomplishment of our liberty, was 
premature. The people of Texas were still in the 
midst of revolution ; a revolution which prevented 
men of capital from other countries making invest- 
ments in ours. 

There is nothing more true, that in their distress, 
political communities, like individuals, will frequent- 
ly ascribe their calamities to wrong causes ; and 
President Lamar's administration closed with much 
complaint of him as the cause of the then individual 
and national suffering. If this complaint had any 
foundation in justice, it was his neglect to procure 
for Texas a mild peace by the prosecution of a bold 
war.* Every sensible man must now believe that a 

* Upon the authority of some of President Lamar's confidential 
friends, it is due to him to state, that the cause of his not prosecuting 
offensive measures against Mexico was the expectation of his procuring 
" a five million loan" in Europe, which he intended to expend by waging 


bold war would have procured such a peace ; that 
peace would have brought us emigration, and that 
emigration would have brought us money. In the 
proneness of the public mind to visit all the wrongs 
upon the President, men did not look to that uni- 
versal commercial and pecuniary distress which had 
swept through all Christendom : they could not 
believe that a distress even greater than theirs ex- 
isted in other countries. The people of Texas a 
third time went to the polls, and in their then indi- 
vidual and political sufferings they forgot the errors 
and wrongs of President Houston's former admin- 
istration, and elected him over David G. Burnet, 
one alike eminent for his learning and patriotism ; 
too honest to indulge in the trickery of the dema- 
gogue, and too proud to pander to the vitiated ap- 
petites of the corrupt. 

President Houston, unlike his predecessor Lamar, 
who, in ah his public -documents, defended the hon- 
our and. dignity of his country, commenced his sec- 
ond .term by exposing to his enemies and the world 
his iwS&'kness, by unnecessarily- magnifying that 
weakness,;. by his: repudiating doctrines of public 
faith, by his laying violent hands upon the public 
archives, by his secret orders to commence civil 
war upon a portion of the citizens of Texas, who 
opposed his violent and unlawful measures to re- 
move the seat of government, and by his advocacy 

an offensive war against that country. It is certain that he was fre- 
quently nattered with the expectation of procuring said loan. 


of the traitor Seguin, who at that time was leading 
upon the heart of our country a portion of the Mex- 
ican army; and here commences the history of the 
campaign which we propose faithfully to record. 


President Houston's Conduct in the Campaign. — His Newspaper War 
with President Santa Anna. — His Treatment of the United States 

President Houston's second administration, af- 
ter the foregoing catalogue as its precursor, com- 
menced with his old siren song of peace, peace by 
begging, peace by negotiation. To some he would 
say, with a mock gravity of face and tone which 
would better suit a father confessor,.." In thirty days 
you shall have peace f;; that; hO r was.; "-fixing the 
thing." This mockery was of short duration. In 
rapid succession 7 fallowed Santa Anna's letter; of 
ridicule of " Mr. Samuel; -Houston" and\ lf& e c ?jrebel 
adventurers ;" then General Arista's, proclamation to 
the people of Texas ; then General Vascus's cap- 
ture and plunder of San Antonio. How were these 
insults and outrages answered by President Hous- 
ton 1 Was it in the manly language of the cannon 1 
To the shame of our country, we are bound to an- 
swer No ! How then ? In the columns of a vil- 
lage newspaper our president belched forth his gall 


and thunder upon the head of the tyrant of Mexico, 
whom he, Houston, " has so greatly served while in 
Texas."* In this newspaper war was our President 
victor to the extent of several columns over and 
above the length of his competitor, and after luxu- 
riating under the gilded domes of the Montezumas, 
he insults a nation with whom we were at peace 
by " unfurling the single star upon the Isthmus of 

In this tournament of the goose-quill between the 
Presidents of Mexico and Texas, the partisan 
Mends of the latter had but little time to chuckle 
over his victory. Santa Anna was not disposed to 
await the execution of his empty threat. He sends 
General Vascus into San Antonio, plunders that 
place of immense booty, and carries off our peace- 
able citizens. Was this outrage answered by the 
national ordnance which the people had placed in 
the hands of their President-general-in-chief? No ! 
It was answered in the numerous war-speeches with 
which he lulled and cajoled the citizens of Houston 
and Galveston. These cities, ever devoted in their 
duty to their country, felt that enthusiastic patriot- 
ism which pervaded all portions of Texas. They 
called upon their President to avenge their coun- 
try's wrongs. He says, in a public speech, " You 
shall have war, and war to the knife. I say it — 
Sam Houston says it — and no man can ever say 

* See Santa Anna's letter to General Hamilton, and Houston's an- 


these lips ever uttered falsehood." In the speech 
alluded to, on the 21st of April, at the Tremont 
House in Galveston, he says, " Before July you 
shall have war." He authorizes the enlistment of 
several hundred gallant young men in the United 
States, and, upon their arrival on our shores, he 
sends them to summer it upon the Nueces, unpro- 
vided with food or the necessary equipments of an 
army, exposed to the sudden attack of a superior 
force, and the pestilence of a climate to which they 
were unused. These brave men were for months 
exposed to disease and death, placed in a situation 
where they could not be succoured, nor any means 
taken to re-enforce them. 

After the President had succeeded in lulling the 
popular war-fever, which abated with the retirement 
of General Vascus from the country, he folds his 
arms and quietly predicts that " there must be an- 
other Fannin massacre before the people would 
come to their senses." If this did not take place it 
was no fault of the President, and in his prediction 
he over-estimated the bravery of the enemy, though 
that enemy was by him furnished with every in- 
ducement to execute his fell prediction. For the 
credit of our country, the following admissions we 
record with deep feelings of regret and mortifica- 
tion. These patriotic men, after suffering all that 
human nature was capable, returned to their homes, 
beggared, unpitied, and with the denunciations of 
our President. Their good sense will teach them 


that, though President Houston is the organ of the 
executive government of Texas, yet he is not the 
representative of the moral sentiment of the com- 
munity ; and ttiat, while every good man in Texas 
sympathized in their wrongs, they will never cease 
to feel grateful for their heroic services. 


General Vascus plunders San Antonio. — The Texians to the Rescue. — 
General Burleson elected their Commander. — President Houston's 
Orders to General Somerville. — His vacillating Conduct in the Cam- 
paign. — His Call of the Congress and Veto of the War-bill. 

The plunder of San Antonio by General Vascus, 
on the 6th of March, 1842, met a response in the 
bosom of every patriot Texian : not in the windy 
gasconade of their President chief, but in that pa- 
triotic impulse which, before the 1st day of April, 
had carried 5000 Texians to the rescue, a large 
portion of whom stopped upon the Colorado. A 
large number had already assembled under their 
veteran leader, General Edward Burleson, always 
the first in the field and foremost in the fight. The 
enemy fled before them to the Rio Grande, one hun- 
dred and fifty miles distant. The Texians were 
anxious to pursue, having by the law of the land 
elected General Burleson their leader. President 
Houston, knowing that, if he attempted to exercise 



the appointing power over them it would break up 
the expedition, sent General Somerville to take com- 
mand. This dissatisfied nearly the whole camp, 
and General Somerville promised to retire and leave 
General Burleson in command. This he did, and, 
having returned one day's journey homeward, learn- 
ing that some letters had gone on to him from Pres- 
ident Houston, he returned to San Antonio, when 
General Burleson, determined not to be the means 
of thwarting the legal orders of the government, re- 
tired, and left the command to Somerville ; most of 
the citizen soldiers also retired, and left General 
Somerville in the quiet enjoyment of the hospitali- 
ties of Bexar. 

The citizens of the western counties determined 
to go home and prepare themselves better for a 
campaign the following June, calling upon their old 
and favourite leader Burleson to head them, which 
he promised with the approbation of the President, 
and despatched the author hereof to the President 
for permission so to do, which they promised should 
not cost the government one dollar. The Presi- 
dent withheld his permission ; and this campaign 
terminated with the President ordering Captain 
Hays to raise a ranging company for the protection 
of the Western frontier. Captain Hays, with but 
his small means, had so little success in so doing, 
that General Woll, in September following, abso- 
lutely entered and took possession of San Antonio 
without his knowledge. During this time, while all 


was excitement in favour of the war, President 
Houston joined in the cry with as much seeming 
patriotism as the foremost. His Brutum Fuhnen to 
Santa Anna, his war proclamation, his address to 
the people of Texas, dated Houston, April 14th, 
1842, published in the Telegraph of the 20th of 
June, his numerous and less destructive thunder- 
bolts by way of grog-shop harangues, followed 
each other in such rapid succession, that many be- 
lieved him serious in his professions. His partisans 
said that " he had his own plan of conducting the 
campaign ; let him alone, and he would do it right ;' 
that " if the old chief himself could head the army in 
person, then every defect in its organization would 
be remedied, and Mexico demolished !" 

Under this state of things the President convoked 
the Congress at the city of Houston, to obtain, as it 
was alleged, more ample means to prosecute the war. 
The Congress convened, bringing with them the 
general feelings of their constituents, that " the war 
must be ended by manly and energetic measures." 
His adherents were for uniting in his person, in vio- 
lation of the constitution and genius of our govern- 
ment, the sword and the purse. The opposition, al- 
though they had no confidence in him as a military 
leader, and believed that such grant of power was 
wholly in contravention of every principle of the 
government, voted him this extraordinary authority. 
They believed that the great public necessity of 
peace was paramount to all other considerations ; 

28 Houston's veto. 

that a campaign upon the enemy's country would 
produce such peace, and that, no matter under 
whom it might be commenced, there was enough 
bravery and military intelligence among our people 
to prosecute it to certain victory. President Hous- 
ton greatly overreached himself. He doubtless be- 
lieved that the Congress would not give what his 
friends asked, and thereby he could defend himself 
from the non-prosecution of the war by saying that 
the Congress had tied his hands. After the Con- 
gress granted all and more than was asked, he 
comes out with his famous veto upon the war-bill, 
carps loudly upon the anti-republicanism of placing 
too much power in the hands of one individual; 
and, to the lasting disgrace of the office he occu- 
pied, published to our enemies and the world, in 
the aforesaid veto, thirty-six times, that the coun- 
try had " no means' 1 of prosecuting the war. We 
will hereafter show with how little truth this pleas- 
ing intelligence was communicated to the enemy. 
He at the same time despatched General M. Hunt 
as inspector-general to organize the militia, and 
muster into the service several thousand troops, 
thus pretending that he had a " plan." 



General Woll takes San Antonio. — His Loss. — White Flag. — Capitula- 
tion of the Citizens. — Abduction of the Court. — His Protection of the 
Santa Fe Prisoners. — Battle and Defeat by Colonel Caldwell at Sala- 
do. — Battle of the Musquet. — Death of Captain Dawson. — Butchery 
of Texians after Surrender. — Law of Retaliation. — General Woll re- 
treats from San Antonio. — Murder of Dr. Smithers and Companions. 
— Death of their Wounded. — Cause of the Texians not charging him 
at the Rio Hondo. — Traitor Seguin.— General Burleson comes up with 

President Santa Anna, in contempt of all Pres- 
ident Houston's vain boasts, again ordered the in- 
vasion of Texas, and General Woll took possession 
of San Antonio on the 11th September, after a de- 
termined resistance on the part of the Anglo-Amer- 
ican portion of the population, numbering fifty-three 
men. The Mexican army under Woll entered the 
town about daylight, and was received by a warm 
fire from the Texians, which killed twelve and 
wounded twenty-nine of the enemy, and with them 
General Woll's favourite horse. 

Although the Mexicans numbered twelve hun- 
dred, and well knew the strength of the Texians, 
they did not venture upon a farther attack, but had 
recourse to their old deception. They took one of 
the small boys of the town, and sent him in with a 
white flag, sounding a parley at the same time. 
The Texians sent over Dr. Booker, Mr. Van Ness, 
and Captain Ogden, to meet General Woll and hear 
his terms. They surrendered upon the following 


terms, that "they should be treated with all the 
honour and consideration of prisoners of war, and 
that all the Santa Fe prisoners with them should 
be so likewise treated." Thus General Woll cap- 
tured judge, jury, clerks, lawyers, and citizens, while 
in the peaceable pursuit of their daily avocations. 
The loss of the Texians was not one killed or 
wounded, and the only damage done by the Mexi- 
cans was killing a chicken rooster near the position 
of our men. 

General Woll pledged his word and honour as 
an officer, a gentleman, and a Frenchman, for the 
faithful observance of these promises, and it affords 
me pleasure to record the fact that he exerted him- 
self in carrying them out. His conduct in the case 
of Captain Fitzgerald, Van Ness, and Hancock, 
Santa Fe prisoners, when they were left at San 
Fernandez, by order of the government, to be shot, 
was highly praiseworthy. He wrote to the govern- 
ment, if the order was persisted in, that it must also 
accept his resignation in the army, and thus these 
men were saved. 

But to return to General Woll at San Anto- 
nio. He delayed his stay in that city until the 
16th, by which time Colonel Matthew Caldwell 
(Old Paint) had assembled two hundred and ten 
men in the Salado bottom, about six miles east 
of the city, in a well-selected position. Colonel 
Caldwell then despatched Captain Hays, with his 
mounted company, to the city, to draw out the 


enemy. He approached near to the Alamo, when 
the enemy's cavalry, several hundred, advanced upon 
him. As directed, he fell back upon Caldwell's po- 
sition, where the Texians lay in eager expectation 
to receive the enemy. They were not long kept 
in suspense. General Woll, with the vanity pecu- 
liar to his adopted country, said "he would go in 
person and drive the Texian wolves from the bush- 
es." He accordingly marched with nearly his 
whole force, including a large number of the resi- 
dent Mexicans of Bexar, and attacked Caldwell's 
position. He used every persuasion to make his 
men charge the Texians, but to no purpose. The 
Texian rifle, when directed by steady nerves, as in 
this case, was awfully destructive. In the attack 
upon the Texians, the Mexicans had sixty killed 
and many more wounded, while of the Texians 
there were only one killed and nine wounded : the 
one killed being a man by the name of Jet, living 
near San Antonio, and who was remarkable for his 
cool daring both in Indian and Mexican fighting. 

General Woll, sorely disappointed in driving the 
" Texian wolves from the bush" was about retreat- 
ing, when he was informed that a company of Tex- 
ians were advancing upon his rear, some two miles 
distant. This company proved to be the gallant 
and lamented Captain Dawson and his company of 
fifty-three men, mostly from Fayette county, who 
had determined upon succouring Caldwell ; and it 
proved a favourable opportunity for General Woll 


to withdraw from Caldwell without the appear- 
ance of flight ; consequently, he retreated to some 
distance, and despatched a large portion of his force 
to attack Dawson. 

Dawson selected his position in a musquet thick- 
et favourable for his rifle-shooting, and where he 
could have whipped a much superior force of Mex- 
icans with small arms ; but, to his surprise, after the 
first fire from his party, at which several Mexicans 
fell, their whole force withdrew to a distance be- 
yond the reach of the rifle, and opened upon the 
Texians with a fieldpiece. The Texians were 
entirely exposed to the fire from the enemy's can- 
non, being in a smooth prairie, only partially pro- 
tected by small musquet timbers, not sufficiently 
large to shield them from the cannon-shot. Thus 
situated, with already a loss of some eight or ten of 
their number, with many of their horses either kill- 
ed, wounded, or otherwise broken loose from their 
charge, they found no means left of retreating ; a 
surrender was therefore determined upon. Here 
followed a scene as disgraceful to the enemy as it 
was revolting to civilized man. After the Texians 
had surrendered up their arms, an indiscriminate 
slaughter took place ; and, before any stop was put 
to it by the Mexican officers, thirty-six of our fifty- 
three men fell a sacrifice to their inhuman cruelty ; 
fifteen more were taken prisoners, while two only 
made their escape. Of the fifteen taken prisoners, 
several were inhumanly butchered with swords and 


lances ; from which wounds, however, they recov- 
ered, after long and severe suffering. Not only the 
officers in immediate command, but especially Gen- 
eral Woll, and the whole Mexican nation, are re- 
sponsible for this outrageous and savage butchery, 
after the surrender of our arms, and while the flag 
of peace still waved ; but a day of retribution will 
assuredly overtake them, terrible though just. 

The law of retaliation in war — the most salutary of 
all laws in preventing the excesses of an enemy — as 
yet, has never been resorted to by the Texians ; that 
law which should have been inflicted upon Santa 
Anna, and each and every one of his men at San 
Jacinto, for his recent murder of Colonel Fannin 
and his four hundred, was permitted to sleep ; and 
the cunning tyrant flattered his captor into a vain 
consequence, which made him forgetful of his duty 
to his country and these murdered heroes. Had 
Washington commanded at San Jacinto, with all 
his human kindness and Christian charity, the cap- 
tive despot would have found a rope, and his men 
no quarter. Thus would he have balanced that 
bloody account, and thus would he have kept it bal- 
anced. What has the reverse of this policy benefited 
us 1 It has been, for the last seven years, an unlimit- 
ed license for our enemy to plunder and murder ! 

To return to our narrative. After the massacre 
of Dawson and his men, General Woll made a tri- 
umphal entry into San Antonio with his fifteen 
prisoners and some two hundred of his own wound- 



ed, and prepared for a hasty retreat towards the Rio 
Grande. This retreat he greatly hastened, upon 
hearing that Colonels Mayfield, Moore, M'Cullough, 
and others, were coming up with re-enforcements 
to Caldwell. 

Some days previous to this time, he had or- 
dered Colonel John M. Seguin, with several hun- 
dred cavalry, to proceed as far as the Guadaloupe 
River, and report to him the condition of things 
there. It is believed that Seguin never went far- 
ther than the Cibelo Mineral Springs, where he 
knew that Dr. Smithcrs and two others were stay- 
ing for their health. These three sick men he bar- 
barously murdered, and thereby made himself mas- 
ter of Dr. Smithers's fine American horse, which his 
family drove in a buggy to the Rio Grande. Se- 
guin, however, upon his return, reported to General 
Woll that all the Texian settlers had fled from the 
Guadaloupe. When General Woll found the Tex- 
ian re-enforcement coming up, and that Seguin had 
deceived him, he laid violent hands upon every 
means of transportation in his reach. Among other 
things, he seized a large number of carts, into which 
he crowded his and our wounded in piles, many of 
whom died for want of medical assistance ; and we 
are informed by Captain Fitzgerald and Mr. Van 
Ness that only two of their wounded recovered ; 
their wounds not having been attended to for eight 
days, they were become past recovery. 

With all General Wolfs hurry in his flight home- 


ward, at the Rio Hondo he found Caldwell upon 
his heels. His retreat became a flight and a panic: 
and had the Texians charged him, as all now agree, 
and as all then seemed to be anxious to do, his 
whole force would have fallen an easy prey. Much 
has been said against Caldwell and others for not 
so doing, and the blame has been charged upon sev- 
eral ; but the writer has not been able to satisfy his 
mind that any particular individual was to blame. It 
seems to be one of those mischances in war, more 
the result of accident or the want of promptness 
than the absence of bravery. It was, however, a 
national misfortune that he was permitted to escape 
to the west side of the Rio Grande, after murdering 
forty-one, and carrying off sixty-seven of our best 

General Woll had persons in his employment 
well calculated for spies and pilots, and adepts in 
robbery and murder. Among the principal of these 
was Antonio Periz and John M. Seguin, both of 
whom had been constantly in the employment of 
our government ; and when they witnessed the de- 
termined efforts of President Houston to destroy the 
seat of government and break up our western set- 
tlements, their cupidity prevailed over all their love 
for Texas, and they determined to have a share in 
the general plunder, a result which is the universa 
consequence of a broken-up frontier. Besides, from 
the melancholy account which President Houston 
had just then promulgated to the world of the con- 


dition of Texas, they had the weakness to believe 
that she must again become an integral portion of 
Mexico. This they believed was a most favourable 
opportunity to reinstate themselves in the favour of 
their mother-country. In 1836 they had been trai- 
tors to that country — the country of their language, 
laws, religion, and birth — and now, Mexican-like, 
they sought to reinstate themselves by an act of 
compound treason upon us. What possible justifi- 
cation in the eyes of honourable men could Seguin 
have for this? He had enjoyed the confidence and 
favour of three administrations ; he had uniformly 
been in high civil and military commissions ; and 
yet, for this double act of perfidy, his friend, Presi- 
dent Houston, pronounces him as pure a patriot as 
any in the land. I have the evidence of Captain 
Fitzgerald, and Messrs. Van Ness and Hancock, the 
three Santa Fe prisoners who were detained at San 
Fernando until January, that Don Erasmo Seguin, 
his father, then at San Antonia, was in daily cor- 
respondence with the enemy while our army was 
marching upon the Rio Grande. 

The Texians, under Caldwell, returned from the 
Rio Hondo greatly exasperated at not being allowed 
to engage General Woll. In a few miles they met 
their old favourite leader, General Burleson, coming 
up with re-enforcements, and they believed that, 
with him as a commander, they would have engaged 
and captured their enemy; but now it was too late. 
General Burleson may not be considered a tactician 


in the strict sense of the term, but he never failed to 
observe one rule in winning battles more important 
than all the minutise of the drill: that rule is, to fight; 
and his uniform success in many a hard-fought bat- 
tle proves that in this art he is abundantly proficient. 


President Houston issues another War Proclamation. — Texians again in 
the Field. — General Somerville arrives in Camp and Disbands the 
Troops. — Volunteers Organized.- — Burleson's Arrival at Camp. — 
Houston's Refusal to issue him Orders. — Volunteers press forward to 
San Antonio. — Somerville's Arrival. — Montgomery Troops Return. — 
Operations in Camp around Bexar. 

This second invasion of our country in the same 
year, and the atrocities with which it was accompa- 
nied, were well calculated to arouse anew the war 
feeling which President Houston's procrastinating 
ingenuity had in a great measure allayed. The 
people of Texas then viewed with dismay and in- 
dignation the wanton neglect of the navy, his refu- 
sal to prosecute war after Congress and the nation 
had decreed it, and his disbandment and abuse of 
the several hundred brave volunteers from the Uni- 
ted States. General Woll entered Bexar on the 
11th September, and, as before stated, captured 
judge, jury, bar, and citizens, under their own 
roofs, and while in discharge of their peaceable 
avocations. This news reached the president at 


Houston on the 16th of the same month, on which 
day he issued another flaming war-proclamation.* 

Here the President meets this universal public 
indignation which his ruinous and deceptious poli- 
cy had visited upon him, by again joining in the 
war-cry. The aforesaid proclamation was printed, 
and distributed extensively throughout the country. 
It called " upon the first class of drafted men from 
many counties to rendezvous at Bexar, to pursue 
the enemy into Mexico, chastise him for his inso- 
lence and wrongs," and concluded by saying, "It is 
hoped you will call to your lead a man of valour, 
wisdom, and experience." Though the laws of the 
country gave the citizens this latter privilege when 
in the field, President Houston had the spring be- 
fore denied it, and yet usurped the appointing 
power over them. That usurpation of their lawful 
rights, and his endeavour to force upon them a man 
not of their choice, had broken up the army in the 
spring. Now that the war-storm raged so fiercely, 
he yielded this point ; and all, more than all, called 
for in his proclamation, at the shortest possible no- 
tice were in their saddles, and moving rapidly to 
the seat of action. The writer was among the first 
two or three hundred from the middle section of the 
country who arrived at Columbus, upon the Colo- 

* Volunteer corps were raised with great despatch in different portions 
of the country, and from the one organized in the city of Houston, which 
elected General Mosley Baker to its command, he (the President) requi- 
red a pledge that " they would cross the Rio Grande''' 1 before he agreed that 
they should have any ammunition from the public stores. 


rado, where, for the first time, they met the news of 
General Woll's evacuation of Bexar. Here we met 
many returning, some, doubtless, glad of such an op- 
portunity to do so, while the majority deeply lament- 
ed it. What was to be done 1 was the question. 
Was this system of outrage and murder to be for- 
ever practised upon us with impunity, and a hun- 
dred miles' flight to the Rio Grande to screen our 
enemy from punishment 1 These questions were 
deliberately considered by every patriot present. 
They had in their hands the President's proclama- 
tion authorizing and commanding them to pursue 
the enemy into Mexico, and also to elect their own 
commander. One and all expressed a desire for 
Burleson to lead them, and said, if he would do so, 
they would follow the enemy home. 

In this state of uncertainty and doubt, I informed 
them that I would go express to General Burleson's 
house, some sixty miles, and have him there in three 
days. I started for General Burleson's, and, in the 
mean time, General Somerville arrived at Colum- 
bus, and hearing that Burleson was expected to 
meet the troops at that place, he hastily disbanded 
them, without orders from the government, and 
started back to his custom-house at Matagorda Bay. 
The question must occur to every reflecting mind, 
Was this patriotic in General Somerville, after he 
found that he was not the choice of the troops, to 
disband them, and destroy all prospect of their serv- 
ing their country under another leader ? This was 


the second time General S. had dispersed the army 
in the same way. In March previously he pertina- 
ciously insisted upon the command at Bexar over 
men who had no confidence in him, thereby driving 
a large and respectable army from the field. But 
at Columbus he was not so successful ; and though 
he added the sanction of his authority as brigadier- 
general of the militia to their going home, and did 
himself go, there was a patriotism of sterner stuff 
which he could not control. 

The gallant Captains Wm. Ryan and F. M. Gib- 
son, of Fort Bend county, and others, called for vol- 
unteers, and when General Burleson arrived the third 
day, as I promised, they were ready for the onward 
march. General B. informed them that he would 
proceed to the upper Colorado counties and Wash- 
ington, raise what men he could, and join them upon 
the San Antonio River in two weeks ; adding that, 
if it should then be their desire for him to lead them, 
he would not shrink from the responsibility. He 
proceeded to Washington for orders from the Pres- 
ident, not doubting that his proclamation of the 
16th of the month previous, authorizing the troops 
to elect their own commander, would be denied. 
The President knew full well that, if Burleson re- 
ceived orders, the men would follow him and the 
enemy would be punished. This he never intended 
to perform, but merely told General B. that General 
Somerville had his orders. Burleson, always obedi- 
ent to the lawful authorities of his country, returned 


home, and left the future conduct of the campaign 
to the President and General Somerville. 

During this time, from the last of September to 
the first of November, volunteers pressed forward 
to the San Antonio River, all eager to follow the 
enemy, and punish him in his own country. In the 
mean time, the President had sent to General Som- 
erville, at Matagorda Bay, to proceed to Bexar and 
take command, at which place he arrived about five 
weeks after he had disbanded the troops at Colum- 
bus. Here General S. found about twelve hundred 
men scattered around the town, at from one to ten 
miles, in some six or eight different encampments ; 
and, instead of concentrating his camp, or organ- 
izing and drilling his men, he sits down in the town 
for two weeks, receiving the hospitalities of those 
very individuals who just before had been foremost 
in entertaining General Woll. Much talk had been 
excited against these individuals in the Texian 
camp for their open and kind reception of the 
Mexican general ; and now that they had a favour- 
able opportunity of taking shelter under the protec- 
tion of the Texian general by feasting and fandan- 
going him, no pains in this respect were spared to 
win that favour ; and from the two weeks' carnival 
he held in the town, we are bound to believe that 
they won it. This brought about the 17th of No- 
vember, and with it a most cutting north wind, 
which was as uncomfortable to those men without 
blankets, lying still in an open prairie, as General 



S.'s luxurious indulgences in the city were to those 
who had blankets. During this cold weather, it 
was told in camp that the general would have been 
out " that day," but had stopped that night to attend 
another fandango. What was murmur and dissat- 
isfaction before against the general's operations, now 
became loud and bitter denunciations. Many be- 
lieved that nothing would be effected under him, 
while others were more highly indignant at not be- 
ing provided with those absolute, indispensable mu- 
nitions of war, which could have been easily obtain- 
ed from the hostile citizens of Bexar. Some want- 
ed more powder and lead, which were known to 
be in the town, and which had been tendered Gen- 
eral Woll, but from the Texians an exorbitant price 
in silver was demanded. This was equivalent to a 
refusal, and those persons who held these articles 
well knew it. As friends of the enemy, they did 
not intend that the Texians should have them if in 
their power to prevent it. Under this state of things, 
nearly the whole of the Montgomery regiment re- 
turned home under feelings of indignation and dis- 
gust. Colonel Bennett and about seventy of the 
regiment remained. By some, blame has been at- 
tached to the Montgomery troops for returning at 
this time ; but they returned under the known sanc- 
tion of President Houston ; and the writer, know- 
ing all the circumstances of the case, can more read- 
ily excuse them ; for, said they, it was easy to fore- 
see that no good to the country would be effected 
under General Somerville. 


After the return of these Montgomery troops, and 
when general dissatisfaction prevailed in camp, 
through the urgent request of the quartermaster- 
general, Colonel Wm. G. Cook, he was permitted to 
press into service a few sacks of salt and some lead, 
while Captain Bogart, of Washington county, and 
the writer became individually responsible for iron 
to shoe the barefooted horses. Did General Somer- 
ville doubt his authority to take for the use of the 
army absolute necessaries ? If so, why was that 
district of country declared to be under military law? 
Did our enemy do less ? No ! they not only took 
absolute necessaries for the camp, but everything 
else which their thieving propensities instigated 
them to take. Was it just to Texas that these peo- 
ple should do less for her than for the enemy 1 Or 
was it due to Texas that General Somerville should 
give to these people a protection which would en- 
able them to keep Bexar as a military granary and 
magazine for the enemy 1 Or was it due to Texas 
that we required of them less than they were will- 
ing to furnish the Mexicans 1 The bad adminis- 
tration of the commissariat department was a fruit- 
ful source of complaint in the Texian camp. They 
had not been furnished with proper rations of beef 
or bread-stuff. Was it because they were not to be 
had ? No ! a large number of disaffected Mexicans, 
who had fled with General Woll to the Rio Grande, 
had left the most of their cattle behind them, and 
the most bountiful corn crop that had been raised 


on the San Antonio for the last ten years. And 
though the troops were at this time using from fif- 
teen to twenty beeves per day, a requisition was 
made upon the different ranches for fifty beeves to 
take them to the Rio Grande; a number barely suffi- 
cient for the army while these fifty were collecting. 
To the energy and promptness of Colonel Bennett, 
of the Montgomery regiment, the army was princi- 
pally indebted for the beef it obtained. He detailed 
men from his regiment, and had three or four hun- 
dred beeves drove up, which were yet barely suffi- 
cient to last the army during its slothful march to 

That the Texian troops complained was most 
natural and just. They well knew that their Mexi- 
can enemies had in their neighbourhood three or four 
thousand cattle. They also knew that from thirty 
to fifty thousand bushels of corn had been left by 
them, and not exceeding two thousand bushels had 
been used by our troops. They also knew that a 
grist-mill, capable of grinding 60 bushels of corn per 
day, which had freely supplied the Mexican army, 
was close by them. They also knew that salt, pow- 
der, lead, and other necessaries were in the town. 
Knowing these things, they complained, and rightly 

But did these good causes of complaint drive them 
home 1 No ! most of these men left their homes in 
September under a solemn conviction that duty to 
their country and themselves required that they 


should pursue the enemy in his retreat, and "punish 
his aggressions." They rejoiced as they believed 
that President Houston had finally adopted that be- 
lief. They had now been from their homes from 
September up to the 18th of November, which found 
them some twenty miles west of San Antonio, upon 
the Precidio crossing of the Medina. They were 
yet 760 strong, and within five days' march of Gen- 
eral Woll's retreating army, which had halted near 
Precidio to give them battle. The men were anx- 
ious for the fight, and, had General Somerville moved 
promptly upon Woll, we are assured by Captains 
Fitzgerald and Van Ness that the whole Mexican 
army would have been captured without a second 
fire ; that most of the Mexican officers and men came 
to them, when they heard that Somerville was ad- 
vancing upon Precidio, to know how they should 
surrender, and what to say to the Texians to save 
their lives. 

During the six or eight days, while the remainder 
of the Texian army lay at this place, they were 
greatly cheered with the hope of speedily meeting 
General Woll. These days, in the absence of 
General Somerville, who was still in Bexar, were 
well improved. Many of the men left their homes 
during the warm days of September, with pantaloons 
too thin for the sharp weather of November; and 
now, in the absence of a uniform military clothing 
establishment, they in the shortest time transferred 
the covering of many an unwary buck to their own 


legs. I never saw deer so plenty ; many hundreds 
were killed, and the whole camp for several days 
had more the appearance of a tremendous tanyard 
than an army which expected in a few days to meet 
the national enemy upon his own soil. Indeed, 
the scene here presented was no bad illustration of 
the facility with which Texians can accommodate 
themselves to unforeseen emergencies ; and he who 
could not creep upon the most keen-sighted buck, 
and " ease him of his jacket," was not fit for a sol- 
dier ; and many who could not or w T ould not do it, 
returned home, as they said, " to get some warm 

Our experience is, that those who " go home for 
warm clothing," a "better horse," or "better gun," 
almost invariably stay there ; and, in my opinion, 
there they should stay, for I never knew a man truly 
anxious to meet the enemy turn back under any pre- 
tence whatever. On the contrary, I have known men 
to go out without either horse or gun, and never 
knew them to fail in being armed before the pinch- 
ing time. One lad in particular I recollect to have 
overtaken on foot and unarmed, pressing forward to 
the army ; and, upon my inquiring after his horse 
and arms, he said, with the utmost simplicity, "I 
have neither, sir, but expect the old general will let 
me fight upon my own hook with stones until one 
of our boys is killed, and then I can get his." I 
asked him if he was good at throwing stones. " I 
am pretty good when I get close enough, sir," was 


his modest answer. I need hardly add that he proved 
himself a soldier. 

On the contrary, those whom I have observed with 
the most bloody mottoes painted upon their caps 
were the last to prove them true ; and I do not rec- 
ollect of seeing one with a " Liberty or death" motto 
who did not take the liberty of returning home a 
little too soon. One of these Republicans wore upon 
his hat, in large capitals, " Patriae infelici fidelis," and 
he was " faithful enough to his unhappy country" to 
eat his fall share of beef until he got sight of the 
enemy, but then returned home in disgust without 
fighting him. 

This week upon the Medina was a week of anx- 
ious expectation. The " artillery was coming up," 
General Woll was within five days' march, the rivers 
low, and no impediment between us ; and we be- 
lieved that the last of the timid had gone home. 
Victory already, in the imaginations of many, had 
perched upon our standard ; fat beef and venison 
hams were in the greatest profusion, and the leather 
breeches-making went on cheerily. Indeed, such 
was the contempt in which General Woll's division 
was held, that it looked more like a preparation for 
a tournament in which every man was required to 
be clad in deer-hides. 

At the first meeting of citizen soldiers in camp, 
the reader must not expect to find that things are 
done as in a regular army. In a regular army, drill- 
ed per book, there is a mathematical monotony in 


all that you see, hear, or do. There the "morning 
reveille" rouses you from your slumbers with that 
"same old beat," and there the orderly sergeants 
call the rolls with the " same old call." Not so in 
the commencement of a Texas campaign. Here 
the orderly sergeants are no small characters ; and, 
at the same time that they make their men do their 
duty, they are ready to fight for their respective 
companies, will always squabble for good rations, 
and will see that their particular companies do no 
more than their due proportion of general camp- 
duty. Here the " crack of day" is the signal for 
true genius. Here the orderly sergeants are all 
equally busy as those in a regular army, and arrive 
at the same end, if not in such quick time, yet in 
good time. Here we have been greatly interested 
in the " roll-calls." Here we have seen a good- 
tempered farmer, in the first exercise of this impor- 
tant office, badly puzzled at the tardiness of his 
men. In his first administration, we have heard 
him, in his slow, easy, good-natured tone, saying, 
" Do, men, for God's sake, turn out here ! What, in 
the name of Charity, is the matter with you all V 
when he was promptly answered in the same long 
tone by some young saucebox, " Why, Uncle Bill, 
what makes you in such a hurry this morning V 
Then one of Uncle Bill's neighbours, who at home 
was in the habit, thus early in the morning, of feed- 
ing his stock, and who now is as punctual in his 
duty to his country, took sides with Uncle Bill, and 


bestirred himself among his sleeping neighbours, 
gently shaking each by the shoulder, and saying, in 
the kindest manner, " Come, come, men, do get up ! 
don't you hear Uncle Bill V Now a young chap, 
who perhaps had not been in more than half a doz- 
ez campaigns, and who has vastly more of the amor 
patrice in his soul than beard upon his face, " feels 
his keeping," shook off his blanket, flapped his 
wings, and crowed. Then a dozen others gobbled 
like turkey-cocks in an April morning, while at the 
same time some patriarchal owl, the head of the 
neighbouring generations, waked up the surround- 
ing hills with a stirring whoop, when he was an- 
swered by his whole family of big-eyes in a lan- 
guage more distinct, and to us far more intelligible, 
than many Indian tribes we have known. 

The roll-call continues. In the distance we heard 
"OldKentuck/'inhis thundering bass, lumbering over 
his roll as if he was making a stump speech upon Salt 
River to all the political bipeds and quadrupeds in 
those parts. A little to one side of him was Jack 
Johnson. Jack is an old soldier — served his seven 
years in the United States army. Here is mathe- 
matics, and here is a cross to your name unless you 
answer the " first pop." Nearer still to us was the 
prince of orderlies : he would spring from his lair 
like a surprised deer, with a shrill, clear snort, which 
would penetrate to the inmost recess of the soundest 
sleeper, and then commence like a ready orator, 
" Tumble out here, boys, immediately, if not sooner," 



and go through his roll with as many variations of 
wit and humour as he had calls. This was Bob 
Waters, of the Fort Bend company. Bob is a small, 
active, quick spoken, and quick moving man, and 
wore a cap made by himself out of a skin which he 
took from a leopard-cat in a Brasos canebrake ; and 
after a peregrination of two years in Mexico under 
the aforesaid cap, and performing in every calaboose 
from the Rio Bravo to the Castle of Perote, is again 
making cotton bales upon Oyster Creek. 

These are the Texas substitutes for the regular 
army reveille, which makes all wide awake, and 
which, unlike that reveille, puts all in good hu- 
mour. Good humour and emulation, in equal por- 
tions, with a few grains of ambition, go far to make 
both men and women do their duty. 

Here is the commencement of a Texas campaign 
by citizen soldiers when not in the vicinity of an 
enemy. It is worthy of remark, however, that as 
the necessity of vigilance and discipline increases, 
no men ever conform more readily to that necessity; 
and, as evidence of which, the whole Texas Revo- 
lution does not furnish the first instance of Texians 
being surprised. 

One thing we will here premise, and beg the read- 
er to bear it in mind, that we do not hold it as in- 
dispensable to an efficient soldier in American war- 
fare that he must be educated, and conform to the 
strictest rules of the scientific schools. The histo- 
ry of the campaigns we are about to record, as well 


as the whole Texas Revolution, furnish abundant 
proof that, as an aggregate, more efficient soldiers 
were never in uniform. European and American 
warfare — warfare in an open country with walled 
towns, and in American forests and swamps — should 
be as essentially different as if they were distinct 
trades. The Texas people are perfect in the lat- 
ter, while they would be eminently efficient in the 
former, because they are the best marksmen in the 
world, and it is a cardinal point with them never 
to fire without covering the object fired at. The 
books teach us the different modes of carrying a 
fortification ; here tactics is most needed, while in 
American warfare circumstances so often occur 
which no book-rule can cover. The draught, then, 
is upon the intellect, and he who can draw most 
heavily upon this source is most efficient. It is 
alone the natural intellect which teaches strategy, 
if we may be allowed the word. In Europe war 
should be the science of tactics, while in America, 
in contradistinction, it should be the art of strategy. 
Let us return to the Medina camp. 

Thus, towards the close of this week of breeches- 
making and plenty, both the general and the artil- 
lery arrived, and orders were issued for immediate 



General Somerville marches upon Laredo. — Gets into a Bog. — Taking of 
Lovedo. — Neglect to Ration the Troops. — Camp moved in the Direction 
towards Home. — Council of War. — First Texian Flag planted west of 
the Rio Grande. — General Somerville starts Home. — Camp without 
Water. — Much Discontent. — Another War Council. — Speech from the 
General. — 200 Troops return Home, and the General marches with 
those remaining against the Enemy. — Cross the Rio Grande near 
Guerrero. — Get Sight of the Enemy. — Recross the Rio Grande for 
Home, and separate from the Main Body. 

General Somerville, however, was too skilled 
in the art of strategy to let such a favourable op- 
portunity escape him of surprising Laredo. So, 
after sending back the artillery which he had taken 
some two weeks to bring up, he suddenly makes a 
"left oblique" for the Laredo road, with an inten- 
tion of surprising that defenceless town in six or 
seven days. The third and fourth days of this sur- 
prising march found the general in a most surpri- 
sing post-oak bog about thirty miles distant. All 
persons who have once been in a post-oak region 
after a heavy rain, would again avoid so doing as a 
pestilence. This kind of land, with much appear- 
ance of firmness to the eye, and sufficiently firm to 
bear a man's weight, will let horses' feet through; 
and, after once through the grass sod, the soft quick- 
sand beneath will soon worry the animal down. 
However, the glory of surprising Laredo put the 
army in this bog instead of carrying it a few miles 


around. Two days were employed in five miles of 
this kind of land, and during the whole time a 
scene was enacted ludicrous beyond all power of 
description. The whole seven hundred and sixty 
men, horses, and packs were scattered over the 
prairie as far as the eye could reach, some floun- 
dering and plunging forth ; some with their bodies 
down upon the grass, their legs entirely out of sight, 
and their noses upon the ground in perfect quie- 
tude, as well as to say to their owners, "You put 
me in here, now get me out," while the owner 
would be standing by, giving utterance to all man- 
ner of curious oaths ; some would be lying upon 
their sides, afraid to trust their legs under them ; 
while the poor pack-mules, with their little feet, 
stood the worst kind of chance. The coffee-pots 
and frying-pans would go one way, and the a/para- 
jos and other camp appurtenances another. One 
horse, stronger or more used to getting through a 
bog than another, would call forth from his com- 
paratively happy owner jests upon a more unfortu- 
nate comrade, which would be returned in curses 
upon their general, whom they dubbed all manner 
of funny names. Here one would strike a fire and 
go to cooking, as he would say, " while his animal 
could blow," while there a squad would be discuss- 
ing the smartness of their general ; some would 
conclude "they had seen enough," while others 
would say that "they had seen the elephant," and 
some, "if ever they got out of that place they would 


go home." When they got through about twenty 
did go home. 

To a people less patriotic and less anxious to 
serve their country, this would have driven the whole 
of them home. They were determined, however, 
to let nothing dishearten them. Though they had 
the smallest confidence in General Somerville's 
ability as a leader, yet they ardently desired to be 
led against the enemy, believing that sufficient in- 
telligence existed in the army to conduct it to a 
certain victory; and under this noble impulse they 
w T ould have followed a crooked stick carried before 
the army as their general. 

This "surprise" march against Laredo, instead of 
seven days, lasted seventeen. On the night of the 
7th of December the Texian forces approached the 
town, and a most formidable preparation was made 
for attack. Had this peaceable and defenceless 
place contained the whole of General Woll's divis- 
ion, greater preparations could not have been made. 
After travelling all day, the men were kept mount- 
ed all night ; the mysterious whisperings and grave 
concealments which the general frequently held, led 
the men to believe that they would have a fight at 
daylight, the appointed time. All were ordered to 
keep dead silence, and all was dead silence. Men 
never acted better, and a more perfect obedience to 
orders never existed in any camp. The writer was 
with the two advance companies of Captains Hays 
and Bogart, who were ordered to pass up the river 


bank and prevent any retreat in that direction, 
while the main force was to approach the town in 
the rear. At daylight we entered the city, where, 
instead of meeting an enemy worthy our steel, all 
our belligerant feelings were turned into shame for 
ourselves ; for we met some women, children, and 
old men, who seemed as glad to see us as if we had 
been their near relations. All felt they were badly 
humbugged ; and thus ended what the men, in rid- 
icule, called " the siege of Laredo." 

The authorities then conducted the army to a 
camping-place about one mile above the town, and 
promised to supply provisions. About noon, eight 
or ten beeves were driven to camp and butchered, 
which was bare rations for one day. They, having 
been promised supplies of bread-stuff and other ne- 
cessaries, waited patiently that day for them, and 
when none, or but a very small and insufficient 
quantity was furnished, they naturally expressed 
dissatisfaction. In the evening of that day, the 8 th, 
the general ordered the army down below the town 
about three miles, in the direction of the San An- 
tonio road. The main road down the Rio Grande 
was on the west side, and the crossing at Laredo. 
" Why did the general not cross the river at that 
point, and take the main road V! was the inquiry in 
every one's mouth. No satisfactory answer was 
given, and I suspected, what the next day proved, 
that he was wending his way home ! Feeling as 
others felt, that, if he did so, it would be a lasting 


disgrace upon our country and ourselves to return 
without crossing into Mexico, I took five men with 
me, crossed the river to the small town of Galves- 
ton, planted the Texian banner in the name of our 
country, demanded of the alcalde five good mules, 
which the boys took, and recrossed the river to 
camp. This place was the military station of Col- 
onel Bravo, who was then secreted in Laredo, 
while his troops were still at that place. Upon my 
return to camp, I informed the officers that I had 
been among Bravo's troops, expecting, of course, 
General Somerville would send and capture them . 
but his mind was in other ways intent. 

The next day, the 9th, still little or no provis- 
ions had been furnished, and the dissatisfaction 
among our men grew loud and determined. In this 
state of feeling, the men said that if the general was 
too great a friend of the Mexicans to feed them, they 
would feed themselves, and about three hundred 
marched into the town and took what they pleased. 
Much has been said by the partisans of General 
Somerville about the plunder of Laredo, giving that 
as evidence of insubordination in the army, and 
thereby wishing to excuse his hasty flight home. 
Though the writer would neither have advised or 
countenanced it, yet he cannot be blind to good rea- 
sons which the troops had for so doing. Most of 
these men had already been from their homes three 
months ; they had been promised, time after time, to 
be led against the enemy ; they had been promised 


that when they reached the Rio Grande they should 
have all necessary supplies. Had these promises 
been fulfilled in any particular I Was it right that 
the Texians should demand less of these people than 
the Mexican army invariably do 1 And was it not 
absolutely just and proper that General Somerville 
should have carried out his reasonable promises to 
them ? The men saw plainly that their three months 
toil was to be swallowed up in the glory of getting 
a view of the Rio Grande, and then a hasty and dis- 
graceful flight home, and without provisions to take 
them there. Under this state of things, a portion of 
them entered the town, and took, among absolute 
necessaries, many articles of a useless character. 
Though the unquestioned laws of war and of na- 
ture gave these men a perfect right to take all ne- 
cessaries for their subsistence, did their general in- 
struct them in what they consisted 1 No ! when 
his own improvidence left the men to feed them- 
selves, without such instruction, it was reasonable to 
expect they would also take useless and unnecessary 
articles. Had the general said to the men, " I have 
furnished you these ten beeves and these few sacks 
of flour ; I can do no more, now look out for your- 
selves ; here is a list of articles which you have a 
right by the usages of war to take, and, as Texians, 
it is expected you will take nothing else." Who 
believes that his instructions would have been vio- 
lated 1 No one who knows anything of the Texian 
character. To lay aside all these good reasons, did 



not the Texians have a clear right, by the lex tali- 
onis of war, not only to do so, but to lay every Mex- 
ican town upon the frontier in ashes \ Did not the 
burning of our towns in 1836, and their subsequent 
plunder of Refugio and San Antonio give them this 
right ? It clearly did ! But a false magnanimity, 
which shielded Santa Anna at San Jacinto, seemed 
to possess General Somerville, as it doubtless did 
his Mexican advisers ; and a greater interest was 
manifested by them for the "poor Mexicans" which 
was sung morning, noon, and night throughout the 
camp, than for our own men. 

And to show with what willingness Texians will 
yield to council and authority, no sooner had they 
returned with these articles to camp, than they were 
told that in a council of officers thirteen out of four- 
teen captains had voted for crossing the Rio Grande, 
and that it was requested they should give up the 
articles taken from Laredo, to be sent back by the 
alcalde. They almost to a man did so. These 
articles were carried to the general's quarters, and 
he sent for the alcalde and delivered them to him, 
to be returned to their respective owners. Did this 
show more the love of plunder or the obedience of 
orders ? The general, and those who were willing 
to follow him home, were deprived by this ready ac- 
quiescence on the part of the men of all plea of in- 
subordination. Did he then follow the advice which 
had been so unanimously voted in the council of 
war — to cross the river, and proceed down it by the 

fix." 59 

main road I No ! but that evening started in a di- 
rection down the river on the east side, and pro- 
ceeded several miles on this course, all believing, 
except his confidential home advisers, that he still 
intended to cross the river below, when suddenly 
the head of the line was turned to the left, into a 
dense and most difficult chaparral. For several 
hours the men were wound about through the prick- 
ly-pears and thorn-bushes, turning more and more in 
the direction of the San Antonio road, when, about 
10 o'clock at night, from exhaustion, sore shins, and 
disgust, all hands came to a halt, without water and 
without supper. " What was the meaning of follow- 
ing so long in the direction of the north star, when 
our direction lay south'?" was in every mouth ; and it 
was not until some time after stopping for the night 
that it was known the army was on the march to 
San Antonio. This was so contrary, not only to 
the will of the men, but to the reiterated threats 
on the part of the general to punish the enemy in 
his own country, and in open violation also of 
the almost unanimous war-council of that day, 
that the indignation of the men burst forth in the 
loudest abuse upon their commander. General 
Somerville's eyes were then open for the first time 
to the dilemma in which he was placed, of crossing 
into Mexico and fighting the enemy, or of going 
home under a popular odium, which would, in all 
probability, overwhelm him. In every direction of 
the camp he heard himself ridiculed and abused the 


whole night. The next morning he remarked to an 
officer with whom he lay, that he did not sleep a 
wink that night. In such a quandary, what was to be 
done 1 He had in his confidence some who urged 
him forward to redeem the honour of his country, 
while the Mexican portion of his advisers persuaded 
him to retreat home. The former prevailed, and 
next morning the troops were informed that they 
would be conducted to water, and after getting some- 
thing to eat, that another war council would be held. 
Accordingly, in about one mile water was found, and 
after getting breakfast, the officers were called to- 
gether in council. Out of fourteen captains pres- 
ent, still eleven were for pursuing the enemy into 
Mexico, and giving him battle. The council ad- 
journed, and the troops were accordingly again pa- 
raded. The general made a speech, in which he 
desired that all who were in favour of crossing to 
the Rio Grande would step to the right, and those 
in favour of returning home would go to the left ; 
that if it was still their desire to pursue the enemy, 
he would lead them, but if not, his commission was 
in their hands, and he would cheerfully serve among 
the foremost in the ranks. Throughout his remarks 
were patriotic and cheering, and by acclamation he 
was elected, without one dissenting voice, their " vol- 
unteer leader.'' By the laws of Texas, the army had 
a perfect right to elect their commander, but here- 
tofore they had not claimed this privilege, for fear it 
might create division, and furnish a pretext, as it had 


the spring previous, for thwarting the expedition. 
When, therefore, the proposition came from Gen- 
eral Somerville to elect their commander, it was 
unanimously met by the men, in as magnanimous a 
spirit, by electing him. Of the 740 men present, 
about 200 voted to return ; they were placed under 
the command of Colonel Bennett, of Montgomery, 
and did return, while the balance insisted upon be- 
ing led against the enemy in the most enthusiastic 

Notwithstanding all the dissatisfaction which had 
been expressed previously as to the general's course, 
such was the patriotic enthusiasm of the men at the 
renewed prospect of service for their country, that 
all was hushed, and a more obedient and willing 
citizen soldiery never were assembled. The march 
commenced in a southern direction, so as to strike 
the river opposite Guerrero, at which place the men 
were informed they would be supplied with every 
necessary. From Laredo to Guerrero, by the main 
road, on the west side of the river, was two short 
days' march, while winding about in the chapar- 
ral on the east side occupied the army until the 
14th, when they reached the river six miles from 
the city, and opposite an Indian village at the mouth 
of the Rio Salado. This tardy and zigzag march 
of General Somerville completely bewildered the 
enemy, and they took for a cunning military man- 
oeuvre what the tattered pantaloons and sore shins 
of our men too plainly told them was an unpardon- 


able piece of stupidity and a cruel waste of time. 
Had General Somerville promptly crossed the river 
at Laredo on the 8th, and swept down it by the 
main road with a celerity befitting the occasion, he 
would by this time have taken every town down 
to Rhinosa, and created such a universal panic in 
that country as to have caused the enemy to evac- 
uate Matamoras and fall back upon Tampico, leav- 
ing the former city entirely exposed. 

Upon reaching the river, a portion of the Ca- 
reese tribe of Indians, which occupied the village 
upon the opposite side, appeared greatly alarmed, 
and some started off to the city at full speed. It 
was perfectly clear, that if the enemy were in the 
city, one or two hours would bring them to the de- 
fence of the crossing, which even a small force 
might successfully do against two or three small 
boats, and hence the necessity of a rapid movement 
to occupy the west bank ; but no orders to this ef- 
fect were given, and after waiting several minutes 
in such expectation, the writer and Captain Charles 
K. Reese, of the Brazoria company, jumped into a 
canoe and went across, hoisted the Texian banner, 
procured a large boat, and returned with the two, 
when the troops commenced crossing their baggage 
and swimming their horses. After the two advan- 
ced companies of Captains Hays and Bogart had 
crossed, Captain Bogart and the writer mounted 
their horses to reconnoitre the road in the direction 
of the city. About two miles distant we met the 

A "RUSE." 63 

advance of Colonel Canales's " Defensors/' number- 
ing about three hundred mounted men, who gave us 
chase to within half a mile of the landing. The 
writer, being upon the slowest of the two horses, 
was left in the rear, and must have been captured 
had he not bethought himself of the ruse of unfurl- 
ing the blood-red silk flag which he had in his hat. 
Being fully occupied in guiding his horse over a 
rough road, and carrying his rifle in his hand, he took 
the corner of it in his teeth, and no sooner did the 
enemy see it than they ceased the pursuit, doubtless 
supposing it was an intimation to an ambuscade. 
The enemy then flanked off upon each side of the 
road, and waited several hours, within a mile, for 
the Texians to attack them. Permission was re- 
fused so to do, and after dark they withdrew. Why 
was this permission refused \ We had ample force 
already across the river to have beaten them. Af- 
ter several hours' delay, the general came across, but 
the writer has never heard any satisfactory reason 
why this insolent banter of the enemy was not met. 
Early next morning the rear-guard of the army 
crossed, and a good portion of the day was employ- 
ed by the general in guarding a fat hog, which, he 
said, belonged to " these good friends," and which 
hog our men cast wistful glances at. He, however, 
was not successful in his kind protection ; for his 
eyes had hardly turned a minute before the animal 
was killed, quartered, and divided between several 


Colonel M'Cullough had been sent to the city 
to demand of the alcalde rations and other ne- 
cessaries for the army. The alcalde returned a 
cheerful answer that everything should be forthcom- 
ing by the time the army arrived in town, where 
good quarters were prepared. That evening the 
army was marched in the direction of the town, en- 
camping one mile from it, in an exposed situation, 
it being one of the most inclement nights ever wit- 
nessed. To this exposed situation the alcalde sent 
a few old hats and filthy blankets, some few beeves, 
and less than one quart of corn for each horse. The 
old hats and blankets should have been an insult to 
the general, as they were to the men, and the very 
insufficient quantity of rations more calculated to 
make men mad than to allay their hunger. Why 
did the general not go into the quarters provided in 
the city instead of exposing his men to such a cold 
rain 1 was asked throughout the camp, and no an- 
swer given. The next morning, when all were 
cold, wet, and hungry — having had no supper the 
night before — and expected to be marched into com- 
fortable quarters in the town, the head of the line 
was again turned towards home, and the army 
marched rapidly back to the former crossing, to fa- 
cilitate which the general made a detail, and carried 
down six large flat-bottomed boats, each capable of 
carrying one hundred men. A portion of the army 
recrossed that evening, and the remainder next 


Here the army found themselves again upon the 
Texas side of the river, and their faces fairly turned 
towards home, after getting in sight of the enemy 
and not fighting him. With a large majority of 
the men, strong discontent was manifested by this 
last attempt to run them home against their will 
and the interest and honour of the country. Some- 
thing more was necessary to be done to appease 
this discontent and satisfy the men in following 
him home, and Captain Hays was then despatched 
with his company into the city with this order, " to 
demand of the alcalde five thousand dollars, or that 
he, the general, would sack the town." This order 
was delivered to the alcalde, when he returned to 
the camp with Captain Hays, bringing with him 
three hundred and eighty dollars, saying he had no 
more. Did General S. thus carry out his word, 
which, however proper or improper it was for him 
to have made it, as a Texian general he was bound 
to execute ? No ! and his reply to the alcalde was 
so ridiculous we forbear to name it. It was urged 
upon those in his confidence that still a brilliant 
opportunity was left him of doing a signal service ; 
that his force was sufficient to occupy the river with 
the boats, while another portion could go down the 
river by land, and by thus acting in concert, occupy- 
ing either or both sides at pleasure, the whole valley 
must necessarily submit; and with such choice of 
positions, his force would be more than equal to 
any enemy on the river. But no ; home was the 



word ! and after giving his personal friends items of 
his intention, thereby allowing them opportunity of 
collecting mules, horses, mares, and colts, which 
they profited by, " home ! march /" was the order. 
To secure a ready acquiescence on the part of the 
men to this order, General Somerville had, the night 
previous, ordered the fleet of boats to be sunk ; but 
others, to whom the order had been given, know- 
ing that his object was to destroy all means of op- 
erating against the enemy, and thereby force a com- 
pliance to his " home orders," moved the boats 
some miles below, and the general absolutely be- 
lieved that the boats had been sunk until just be- 
fore he started, when he was told that not one half 
of the men would follow him any longer ; that he, 
and all who chose so to do, might go home, while 
the remainder would stay and fight the enemy. The 
general started home with two hundred and odd 
men, including his extensive staff, numerous enough 
for a field-marshal of France, while he left behind 
him three hundred and four men to do the fighting. 
The march he had now to accomplish to Bexar 
was far more difficult than the one which had oc- 
cupied him seventeen days to Laredo, in which he 
had used more than three hundred beeves ; and 
though there were an immense number of beeves, 
sheep, and goats in the immediate neighbourhood 
of the camp, yet this difficult march was underta- 
ken, as I have been informed, without his collect- 
ing any, trusting to the precarious chances of kill- 


ing a wild cow or such game as good fortune might 
throw in his way. The consequence was, his whole 
command came near starving, many reaching home 
on foot, having to leave their horses broken down 
and bogged, the general's among the rest. 

Upon General Somerville's arrival at home, he 
made an official communication to the war depart- 
ment of his doings upon the Rio Grande, which he 
closed by saying that, " having been eleven days 
upon the Rio Grande, he thought it imprudent to 
remain longer, as the enemy might concentrate." 
All the circumstances of this disgraceful flight home, 
and without rations, proved that in this declaration 
he was sincere. 

We have many instances in the history of war 
of generals flying from their men during the rage 
of battle, when blood and death is calculated to 
terrify and unnerve ; and we have instances of 
men running off and leaving their generals in the 
field ; but this is the first instance of which we 
have any recollection of a general going home 
when in the immediate neighbourhood of the ene- 
my, and leaving his men behind to fight. Some 
of General Somerville's friends have justified his so 
doing by saying that he acted under orders. If it 
be true that such were his orders, it is most certain 
that those orders were kept secret from the army, 
and he thereby permitted himself to be made a tool 
of by the President, to deceive that army and the 
country. If it be true that he received such orders 


from the President as to break up the campaign 
without fighting the enemy, why did his adjutant- 
general, Chief-justice Hemphill, read to the army, 
day after day, volumes of patriotic orders of his 
" glory, honour, and liberty ?" If, on the other hand, 
he received no such secret orders, then he is charge- 
able with the grossest disobedience of public orders, 
and the nation have a right to be redressed there- 
for. The late election for major-general shows 
that the nation has stamped it with their most de- 
cided disapprobation ; for out of some fifteen thou- 
sand votes, though General Somerville was brigadier 
of the first brigade, and a candidate, he received 
some hundred. 

It is again said by some who returned home with 
General Somerville, and who wish to excuse that 
return, that the army was disobedient and unorgan- 
ized. Justice to the whole army, and especially the 
gallant men of Mier, require that we should notice 
particularly these charges. The former one we 
have already shown how groundless ; and we again 
repeat, that there never was a more obedient citi- 
zen soldiery assembled, in all things save in the 
one of running home without fighting the enemy. 
That they should have been disobedient in this, re- 
dounds to their own and their country's honour. 
If the charge of being unorganized was founded in 
justice, whose fault was it \ Where was General 
Somerville, and what was he doing from the entry 
of General Woll into Bexar, on the 11th of Septem- 


ber, up to the middle of December, when he left 
these men upon the Rio Grande 1 Was it not his 
duty to organize and discipline the troops, and did 
he make any attempt to do so 1 It is a well-known 
fact that he never, on the first occasion, drilled them, 
though he remained in Bexar weeks, and the men 
had nothing else to do. However, in our warfare, 
it is a popular mistake that our citizen soldiery 
should understand all the minutiae of the regular 
army drill. It is important that they should under- 
stand how to keep in " close order" and to " wheel 
by column" and a few other important manoeuvres, 
which may be taught in a very few days. The 
most important of all manoeuvres we understand bet- 
ter than any other nation on the face of the earth, 
and that is, to " look through the double sights with 
a steady army 

It is painful to be under the necessity to make 
reflections either against General Somerville or any 
other gentleman, but duty to the army, to the ser- 
vice, and to the country requires us to say all, and 
perhaps more than we have said; and we surely do 
so without personal unkindness to any, and espe- 
cially General Somerville, whose general kindness 
of disposition and social habits would disarm any 
one of such feelings. 



Colonel Fisher elected Commander. — The "Writer appointed Commander 
of the Flotilla. — Descent of the Rio Grande. — Capture of Carancawa 
Indians with a British Flag. — Occupation of Mier. — Requisition for 
Provision. — Arrest of the Alcalde. — Enemy's Appearance. — Council of 
War.— Order of Battle. 

The twelve hundred men who had been at Bex- 
ar one month previously, ready and anxious to pur- 
sue and engage the enemy, were now reduced down 
to three hundred and four.* After consultation 
with the officers and most influential men, it was 
agreed that Colonel William S. Fisher should be 
elected commander, he having been in the Federal 
War with Canales some two years before, and 
knew the country upon the Rio Grande better than 
any other officer present ; and that the army had 
the perfect right to elect their commander, is evident 
from the law of January, 1840. The author was 
appointed to take command of the flotilla of boats, 
then numbering six large barges, each capable of 
transporting 125 men, and several smaller ones, 
used as tenders, and to proceed down the river 
pari passu with the land forces, the land and river 
forces usually meeting at night. The lamented 
George W. Bonnell and Dr. Richard F. Brennem, 
both of whom had survived the perils of the Santa 
Fe Expedition, who possessed the most exalted pa- 

* See Muster Roll, No. I., in Appendix. 

L'iiii '■mmiik. 


triotism, and who longed for an opportunity of re- 
taliating their injuries upon the enemy, were ap- 
pointed, the former first lieutenant of the Navy, as 
our flotilla was familiarly called, and the latter sur- 
geon. Texas has met a heavy loss in the untimely 
end of these true patriots — they, in the prime of 
life, were brave to a fault, talented and patriotic 
upon principle — for the love of country and the 
love of liberty. We shall have occasion hereafter 
to speak more particularly of the manner in which 
they met their end, but on no occasion could their 
names be mentioned by us without an humble tes- 
timonial of respect for their worth. In the " Navy" 
other appointments were made, to wit, command- 
ants to each boat, and Samuel C. Lyon sailing- 
master of the flag-boat, which was known by the 
red flag at the mast-head, the same which we had 
hoisted in Mexico opposite Laredo and Guerrero. 
Two of the large boats, with several of smaller size, 
were burned for want of men to occupy them, and 
the expedition proceeded down the splendid and 
heretofore imperfectly-known river Bravo. 

In Texas, a popular opinion has prevailed that 
the Rio Grande was a rapid stream, full of shoals 
and rocks, subject to go almost dry in the fall, and 
fordable at any point. So far from this being true, 
we descended it at a low stage of water — on few 
occasions does it get lower — and never found any 
place at which it could be forded below Laredo,, 
and it is, indeed, barely fordable there. It is a beau- 


tiful river, averaging four hundred yards in width, 
with high bluffs generally on one side or the other, 
and the opposite side always a fertile bottom. This 
river resembles more the Ohio, when in boatable 
order, than any we recollect to have seen, and is 
far superior for steamboat navigation to any other 
upon the Gulf of Mexico west of the Mississippi. 
The alluvion upon this river is almost exclusively 
upon the west bank, and is capable of the highest 
state of cultivation ; while the eastern bank bluffs 
down nearly to the water's edge with high and pre- 
cipitous hills. These hills are covered with a dense 
growth of trees and shrubbery, all bearing thorns in 
some shape or other, and forms what is called, in 
the Mexican language, the Chaparral. The im- 
mense number of stock which has fed upon these 
hills for many years having kept down the grass, 
has caused deep washes, with such precipitous sides 
that it is frequently with great difficulty that caval- 
ry can proceed, and therefore makes this the most 
defensible country for Texian warfare, and espe- 
cially the rifle. Both cavalry and artillery would 
be next to useless in these hills, and we hazard no- 
thing in saying that, with the advantage of the wa- 
ter, stock, and contiguity to the towns and settle- 
ments upon the western bank, one thousand Tex- 
ians could occupy it in perfect security against ten 
times their number. This river and the adjacent 
country were viewed, as well by the author as oth- 
ers in the expedition, with a military eye, in expec- 


tation of future campaigns ; and we may congratu- 
late our country that she is now in possession of 
information which, in such an event, will make her 
strength five times as available. 

The flotilla proceeded down the river, capturing 
and burning between forty and fifty boats, and stop- 
ping at different settlements for provision sufficient 
for the troops ; and we assert, from positive knowl- 
edge, that no unnecessary waste was either allowed 
or perpetrated by the destruction of any stock more 
than was necessary or barely sufficient as rations. 
The only waste which could not be prevented was 
by our horses when turned into the cornfields. The 
corn had been cut and stacked, and during the night 
the horses may have pulled down more than they 
ate, but this must have been inconsiderable. The 
first night after our separation from the home troops, 
the boats stopped at a rancho, where we met the 
tribe of Carancawa Indians, who had just previous- 
ly to that time committed some depredations upon 
our coast about Live Oak Point, and fled for fear 
of punishment. These Indians protested their in- 
nocence, pretended great friendship for us, and ex- 
pressed a desire to return to Texas. It was thought 
prudent to disarm them to prevent their joining the 
enemy, and all their implements of war, quivers, 
bows, arrows, &c, and with them a British flag, 
which they doubtless pilfered from some English 
vessel on the coast, were taken and placed in the 



A company of spies were constantly kept on the 
western side of the river as a watch upon the ene- 
my, which the facility of crossing furnished by the 
boats made entirely practicable. As the different 
boats were governed by signals from the flag-boat, 
it was easy to direct their movements for this or 
any other purpose. 

On the 21st of December, both the land and river 
forces encamped together upon the east bank of the 
river, about seven miles from the city of Mier, 
when Colonel Benjamin M'Cullough and some 
choice spies were despatched to reconnoitre the 
city, and ascertain if any troops were in the neigh- 
bourhood, their strength, &c. Colonel M'Cullough 
went into the city, conferred with the alcalde and 
some Americans living there, who informed him that 
Canales had just before evacuated the place, but that 
more troops were expected hourly. On the morn- 
ing of the 22d, after a council of war, it was deter- 
mined to march into the city and make a requisition 
upon the authorities for necessaries for the army, and 
that in no instance would anything like plunder be 
countenanced. So, after detailing a sufficient camp- 
guard, the troops were crossed over about 9 o'clock 
A.M., and addressed by Colonel Fisher in an ap- 
propriate manner. He called upon them to bear in 
mind " that they were upon an honourable service, 
and not one of pillage, and that their country would 
look to them for a soldier-like discharge of that ser- 
vice ;" " that they had before them the recent plun- 


der of Laredo, and the ill effects of that plunder ; 
a plunder calculated to unfit a soldier in his duty, 
and to create anxious desires to go home." It is a 
singular fact in our physical constitution, that if we 
become loaded with gains either justly or unjustly, 
whether these gains be in the way of a caballada or 
baby -clothes, it increases a home desire to such an 
extent that none can resist it. In the fresh exam- 
ple of Laredo and Guerrero, it was manifest that 
in the few who indulged this way, their amor patrice 
was lost sight of in their multiplied excuses to go 
home, for it is certain that they did go home. The 
troops responded to these sentiments as men and 
patriots who had a more exalted object in view, 
and they were marched into the public square and 
kept under arms without even attempting to violate 
orders in a single particular. The alcalde and prin- 
cipal men of the town invited Colonel Fisher and 
the author to the city hall, where they were inform- 
ed that we wished a requisition of necessaries to be 
furnished to the army ; that so soon as this was 
done the troops would withdraw, and then the citi- 
zens had nothing to fear from them. The alcalde 
expressed his willingness to comply in furnishing all 
necessaries for the army, and remarked that " he had 
it to do for the Mexican army, and could not expect 
to do less for us." Colonel Fisher requested me to 
make out the requisition, which I did. The fol- 
lowing is a copy of the same : 

" The alcalde of Mier will forthwith furnish and 


deliver at headquarters upon the Rio Grande the 
following requisition for the use of the army, to 
wit : All the government stores of every kind, in- 
cluding cannon, small fire-arms, powder, lead, mu- 
nitions of war of every kind, tobacco, &c. ; also, 5 
days' rations for 1200 men, to wit : 40 sacks of flour 
of 6 arrobas each, 1200 lbs. sugar, 600 lbs. coffee, 
200 pairs of strong coarse shoes, 100 pair of do. 
pantaloons, and 100 blankets. 

" By order of the general commanding," &c. 
As is customary in cases of this kind, when a 
requisition is made upon the alcalde of a Mexican 
town, he apportions it among the different citizens 
in proportion to their ability to furnish, and they 
had nearly complied with the whole requisition, 
when the difficulty of transporting it to camp that 
evening presented itself, owing to there being no 
teams in readiness. Night was drawing near, and 
to return to camp without the requisition, and with- 
out any guarantee of its forthcoming, would have 
been placing undue confidence in a Mexican's word. 
Under this state of things, Colonel Fisher ordered 
the writer to take the alcalde to camp as a hostage 
to its fulfilment, which he promised should meet us 
the next day lower down the river, and opposite the 
town. Accordingly, the march was recommenced 
in perfect order, the alcalde being mounted and un- 
der a special guard. Here was a town, the largest 
and richest upon the river save Matamoras, in our 
possession all day without the least possible depre- 


dation being committed ; and we think it a sufficient 
answer, as well to President Houston's charge of 
robbery against the Mier men, as to those who re- 
turned home with General Somerville. At any rate, 
we will not dignify this malicious falsehood by any 
farther refutation. 

The advance reached the river about dusk, when 
a melancholy incident occurred by the accidental 
discharge of a gun, and the killing one of the small- 
est boys in the army. This youth, by the name of 
Yocum, aged fourteen years, was one of the very 
few troops we had from the county of Liberty, was 
in a high degree manly for his age, and deserved a 
better fate. 

The army recrossed the river to their camp, which 
was upon the second bottom above the landing. The 
alcalde was exceedingly anxious to go up and see the 
commanding general, and arrange with him, for he 
yet believed that the troops which entered Mier 
were but the advance guard of the army, and that 
the remaining portion of the twelve hundred were in 
camp. The writer informed him that he was un- 
der his special charge, that he had his orders what 
to do, and that he must be content until the requi- 
sition was complied with. He said that " the re- 
quisition would doubtless be down by the morrow, 
as such were his orders.' , After eating a piece of 
mutton, which we insisted he should join us in, we 
gave him part of our blanket, and, as the most re- 
spectful mode of guarding his honour, for he was a 


far more decent man than the majority of Mexican 
officials, we gently placed one of his legs between 
ours, and though there was no community of lan- 
guage between us, yet we seemed to understand 
each other's motions, for when one turned over the 
other turned, we always maintaining his leg in the 
same affectionate position. The night blew a heart- 
less norther, which swept down the river with a 
most cutting effect, and the morning opened upon 
the most haggard countenance of Don Juan, for no 
less a personage was the alcalde. 

On the morning of the 23d the camp was moved 
several miles below, to where the alcalde informed 
us the provision would be brought. That day pass- 
ed without his promise being fulfilled, and he grew 
exceedingly restless. On the night of the 23d the 
norther continued to blow, and we again had the 
mutual honour of sleeping with each other in the 
same affectionate manner — we with Don Juan, and 
Don Juan with (as he called us) Commodore Verde, 
which means, in their language, green. Don Juan, 
not knowing what the non-compliance of his order 
as to the provisions would bring about, grew still 
more restiff. His dreams were anything but pleas- 
ant, if we were to judge from his nervous excitabil- 
ity, and sleeping exclamations of halters and bullets. 
His restlessness, together with the cold weather and 
the want of more blankets, failed to inspire us "with 
visions of an apple and a bee," which his wayward 
namesake brought to the downy pillow T of the fair 


Dudu, and I arose in the morning much worried by 
my courtly protection of his honour Don Juan the 

Captain Baker and his spy company had been 
kept upon the west side of the river during this 
time, and on the morning of the 25th captured a 
Mexican and sent him into camp, who, upon being 
examined, informed our commander, that after the 
requisition had been started down in compliance 
with the alcalde's order, the troops of General Am- 
pudia and Canales had arrived and stopped them; 
that they numbered about seven hundred men, with 
two field-pieces, and had taken a position upon the 
west bank of the river two miles below, to prevent 
our farther progress down. Upon the receipt of 
this information a council of war was held, when 
it was unanimously agreed to cross the river and 
fight them. Our troops commenced crossing about 
2 o'clock P.M., Captain Baker and his spies in ad- 
vance. At 4 o'clock all was crossed over and ready 
to march, when a brisk fire was heard in the direc- 
tion of the enemy's position. In a few minutes a 
courier arrived from Captain Baker, stating that 
two of his most efficient spies had been captured, 
Samuel H. Walker, of Galveston, and Patrick Lusk, 
of Washington, and that he was in a position which 
he would endeavour to maintain until he could be 
succoured. Upon the receipt of this information a 
forced march was ordered to his relief, and upon 
our arrival in sight of the enemy they retreated 


rapidly in the direction of the city. Walker had 
proved himself a daring and efficient spy when 
General Woll occupied Bexar. After he was 
brought a prisoner into Mier, he was examined 
by General Ampudia as to our numbers, intentions, 
&c, and told in advance by the general " that if 
he told him a falsehood his life should pay the for- 
feit of it." Walker replied " that his life was in 
the general's hands, but that it was neither our 
habit or nationality to lie." After Walker's telling 
him that our effective remaining force was about 
300 men, General A. says, "They surely have not 
the audacity to pursue and attack me in town." 
" Yes, general," says Walker, " you need not have 
any doubts upon that point ; they will pursue and 

attack you in ." 

After the council of war had determined upon 
crossing and fighting the enemy, the writer returned 
to the boats to prepare for their embarcation. Here 
he found the alcalde asleep, and the most of the 
boats' hands cooking their beef and mutton. The 
surplus small boats were fired, and most of the troops 
crossed over before the alcalde awoke. He arose 
in the greatest possible alarm, asking what all this 
meant. He was told that General Ampudia and 
Canales had stopped our rations, and we were go- 
ing to see by what authority they did so. He pro- 
tested that, inasmuch as he had complied all in his 
power, they ought not to carry him into battle ; 
that he had a dear wife and children at home. We 


told him that during the battle he could stand be- 
hind us, and that there was not so much danger 
there. This provoked a laugh at the expense of 
the poor alcalde, but did not make his countenance 
less dolorous. The writer, with a portion of his 
boat-hands, occupied the extreme right, among 
whom the alcalde was marched in file. Upon the 
retreat of the enemy to the city there was but one 
general impulse throughout the line, and that was to 
pursue and fight them, they having that day and 
the day previous taken five of our men who were 
believed to be in the city. Our march was pursued 
in the direction of the city, and about one mile 
therefrom we were hailed by a picket-guard, which 
fired into us and fled. This fire was answered by 
all the other sentinels in the neighbourhood, giving 
us a good opportunity to ascertain their position. 
Seven o'clock found us in midnight darkness upon 
a high hill on the east side of the Rio Alcantra, 
which separated us from the city, and here com- 
menced the battle of Mier. 





The Rio Alcantra is a small but rapid stream, 
about sixty yards in width, Which forms a semicir- 
cle upon the east side of Mier, the city being built 
in the curve. The position which our troops oc- 
cupied was upon a high hill, difficult of descent, and 
between the upper and lower crossings of the river. 
Here it was necessary to feel our way with great 
caution and profound silence. The night being 
dark and drizzling with rain, the troops were or- 
dered to sit and protect their arms from the damp 
until more could be learned of the position of the 
enemy. While in this position, Captain Charles 
K. Reese, of the Brazoria company, with private 
Joseph Berry, was despatched from the left wing to 
fire into a picket-guard some two hundred yards to 
their left, for the purpose of extracting their fire and 
exposing the situation of their different pickets, 
while the author felt his way down the bluff in the 
direction of the lower ford. Here was stationed a 
strong force of their cavalry to defend this crossing, 
which he ascertained by the rattling of the cavalry 
gear when the horses would shake themselves. He 
returned to the position of our army upon the hill, 
and obtained permission of Colonel Fisher to take 
Captain Baker's spy company and some of the boat- 

■ues- . 

TexiaTL Camp 

the Bio Grande 


December 25^A 26 t, . , 1842 . ' 

"F*.ti y A . by W ..Kemble , "N . Y 




The Rio Alcantra is a small but rapid stream, 
about sixty yards in width, Which forms a semicir- 
cle upon the east side of Mier, the city being built 
in the curve. The position which our troops oc- 
cupied was upon a high hill, difficult of descent, and 
between the upper and lower crossings of the river. 
Here it was necessary to feel our way with great 
caution and profound silence. The night being 
dark and drizzling with rain, the troops were or- 
dered to sit and protect their arms from the damp 
until more could be learned of the position of the 
enemy. While in this position, Captain Charles 
K. Reese, of the Brazoria company, with private 
Joseph Berry, was despatched from the left wing to 
fire into a picket-guard some two hundred yards to 
their left, for the purpose of extracting their fire and 
exposing the situation of their different pickets, 
while the author felt his way down the bluff in the 
direction of the lower ford. Here was stationed a 
strong force of their cavalry to defend this crossing, 
which he ascertained by the rattling of the cavalry 
gear when the horses would shake themselves. He 
returned to the position of our army upon the hill, 
and obtained permission of Colonel Fisher to take 
Captain Baker's spy company and some of the boat- 








o |c 


i I 


n n 11 






A Ric/ht iruic,. 

B Copt, Cameron's position . 

C Rerje ,.£ Pearson!* companies. 

D JHuch of Jlu/lit iri/ig on Artilleij 

Alcalde Offio. 
f Cliurcli & GiAmpuduw' quart 

*»^ [ -I JoeMews Gua/d 


B a 



:Capt Baker's Company 

of Que Eo Grande- 


December ZS^A 26* 1 8- 1 

Eag? by W.Ke Bible X' 5 



men, among whom was the lamented Dr. Brennem, 
and thus open a scattering lire upon the cavalry he- 
low, while he could hunt out a crossing into the 
city between the two fords. Selecting a position 
for these men, protected by an embankment about 
three feet high, immediately opposite the cavalry, 
with the river only between them, the signal to 
commence the action was to be nine shots from 
his repeating rifle. The writer stepped to the 
water's edge and fired the nine shots in rapid suc- 
cession into the enemy, which created some confu- 
sion in their lines, but was promptly returned, none 
of their' s taking effect. The spy company and boat- 
men kept up the fire, which completely deluded the 
enemy, for they thought it was our main body which 
intended to force that passage. The opposite plan 
of Mier and its vicinity, the Texian camp, and their 
entrance into the city, will give the reader a more 
correct knowledge of the battle. 

While this fire was kept up with galling effect 
upon the enemy, I passed up the river to hunt out 
an intermediate crossing. Feeling my way along 
the almost perpendicular bluff of the river, I found 
a place which could be descended with difficulty. 
Here I hung up a pocket-handkerchief upon a bush 
to designate the spot, while I returned and led 
the army down. In returning to the line, some de- 
lay was occasioned by the following unfortunate 
circumstance : Captains Reese and Berry, after 
firing into the picket upon our left, in attempting to 


make their retreat, the latter fell down a precipice 
about thirty feet and broke his thigh. Dr. Sinnick- 
son and a guard of seven men were detailed for his 
assistance, who had to let down ropes, which he 
fastened around his body, by which means they 
drew him out and placed him in a house near by, 
where his wound could be attended to. We shall 
have occasion to speak of this small guard in de- 
tailing one of the most desperate and bloody con- 
flicts which they had the next day with the enemy, 
and which the history of war can hardly parallel. 

After this detail was made, the army followed me, 
in the most profound silence, to where the hand- 
kerchief was left, and then, in single file, slided down 
the bluff about forty feet to the water's edge, it be- 
ing too perpendicular to walk down. We then 
passed up the river some hundred yards ; the alcalde, 
being near the head of the line, was several times 
asked whether the river could be here forded, and 
his answer was " Poco mas arriba" (a little higher 
up). The cavalry below, being at this time severe- 
ly galled by our spies and boatmen, were firing at 
random, and here we had two men, Allen and Oats, 
w r ounded. The anxiety which Don Juan seemed 
to evince in getting out of the reach of the cavalry 
shots made us suspect him of falsehood as to the 
depth of the river. At any rate, I determined to as- 
certain the practicability of crossing by first trying 
it in person. The head of the line was halted for 
this purpose, and, after wading through the rapids, 


I was greatly rejoiced to find it not more than waist 
deep. Returning with this favourable report, Col- 
onel Fisher and myself headed the line and effected 
the crossing with the same silence which had been 
previously preserved, and which was greatly favour- 
ed by the roaring of the river at this point among 
the rocks. 

I had been appointed to the command of the 
right wing, and by the time the extreme left was 
across the river, the right was in immediate con- 
tact with a picket of the enemy, about fifteen or 
twenty strong. The constant fire below, which 
had been kept up between our spies and their cav- 
alry, had so diverted the attention of this picket, 
that they did not discover us until we were almost 
touching, when the whole of them, in the greatest 
possible alarm, simultaneously hailed us. They re- 
ceived for answer to their "quien viva?" "Let them 
have it, boys !" when about one hundred shots from 
the right wing were poured into them. They never 
returned the fire, or ever kicked that we know of, 
and the only thing now to break the silence, save 
the firing down the river, was the thundering voice 
of old Colonel Ramires, some few hundred yards 
off, commanding the cavalry to charge us ; but this 
order was given in vain. During this incident, 
which happened in less time than we have been 
relating it, the alcalde, favoured by the darkness 
of the night, fled. He had been placed in special 
charge of one of the boat-hands, the old sailing- 


master, a braver or better man than whom did not 
belong to the army ; but his English blood had 
been aroused by the " quien viva 1 of the picket, 
and he had let them have the full benefit of his 
double-barrelled " Joe Manton." So soon as the re- 
port of our firing ceased, I spoke to the old sailing- 
master to look to the alcalde, and received for an- 
swer, " By my soul, general, he is adrift !" 

We were now fairly in the suburbs of the city, 
and marching in the direction of the Military 
Square, which we had little doubt was the strong- 
hold of the enemy. About fifty yards from the 
picket we entered a street at right angles, down 
which an officer, mounted and in full gallop, was 
passing. As he passed the head of our line, some 
dozen shots were fired at him, with what effect we 
do not know ; his horse floundered, and passed out 
of our immediate path. The head of the line w T as 
wheeled to the right, up the street from whence 
this officer came, and proceeding about one hun- 
dred yards farther, it was necessary to reconnoitre 
the position of the enemy. Here a halt was order- 
ed, when I passed the next corner upon our left, 
which opened upon a street that led directly into 
the square, and in which street was placed their 
artillery, around which a bustling preparation was 
making. Returning to the line, I informed Colonel 
Fisher of the exact position of the enemy, and ob- 
tained his permission to advance with the head of 
the right wing until it covered the street in which 


the artillery was placed, when we fired suddenly 
into them, passed the corner in quick time to make 
room for their " grape and canister," and repeated 
the fire alternately with them. This was done 
several times with deadly effect upon the enemy, 
while twice per minute their grape and canister 
shot would pour down the street, from whence our 
fire proceeded, with no effect upon us, we after each 
fire passing the corner to await theirs, and then re- 
turning to reoccupy the firing position again. By 
this manoeuvre, while their artillery was playing 
upon a vacant street, our fire was sure and destruc- 
tive. While the right wing was thus occupied, the 
left unfortunately exposed their situation by return- 
ing some random shots fired from the house-tops. 
This brought upon them a well-directed fire, which 
killed J. E. Jones, a brave and honourable man, an 
Englishman by birth, who had been one of the Santa 
Fe sufferers. 

The night continued to drizzle rain, which made 
it more important that our troops should effect a 
lodgment in some strong stone houses, as well to 
protect their arms as to refix those already out of 
order, some of the men having fallen in the water 
while crossing the river. One of the strongest ob- 
jections to the rifle is the ease with which it is put 
out of order, and the difficulty of refixing it ; if the 
powder should get wet, the difficulty of unbreeching 
is far greater than the drawing of a musket-load. 

The right wing was ordered to take possession 


of a row of stone houses upon one side of the street, 
leading in the direction of the artillery, which they 
did by beating down the corner doors, and then, 
with the aid of an iron crowbar which they found 
inside, opened breaches through the dividing walls 
to within fifty yards of the artillery. A breach was 
ordered to be made in the upper end of this build- 
ing, so as to command the artillery ; and no sooner 
was it commenced on the inside than the artillery 
was directed against that point on the outside. The 
w 7 all was thick and strong, and the twelve-pound 
shots driving against it in rapid succession tended 
greatly to facilitate our work by loosening the stones 
for us. No sooner was the opening made than it 
was filled with our rifles, which were unerringly de- 
structive. Upon the left wing was Captain Reese's 
Brazoria company, and Captain I. G. W. Pearson's 
Milam company. They had been ordered to oc- 
cupy a row of stone buildings upon the opposite 
side of the street, and had just completed their port- 
holes, where the cross-fire from their position was 
equally destructive. After daylight, three times was 
the artillery manned and as often silenced, the last 
time sixteen out of seventeen falling, the command- 
er, Captain Castro, a brave and honourable man, 
being the only surviver. 

Our troops had now effected a strong lodgment 
nearly in the centre of the city, and beaten all op- 
position, with only one killed and two wounded. 
The same thing could not have been done in day- 


light against such odds with one hundred times the 
loss. In less than one hour after daylight opened 
upon us, their artillery was silenced and deserted, 
and the enemy had recourse to the house-tops, from 
whence they ventured to pour down upon the 
houses we occupied volleys of musketry. In the 
many thousand cartridges discharged at us an oc- 
casional one would take effect, and we had some 
valuable men killed and several wounded. In this 
situation, none but our best rifles and surest shots 
were brought into play, and they not permitted to 
fire except with dead rest and sure aim.* This ex- 
plains why a large majority of their killed and 
wounded were shot in the head and breast, the only 
part exposed in firing at us. However, to obtain a 
better position for some of our picked riflemen, holes 
were made in the roofs of the houses we occupied, 
through which they ascended, and in that position 
we soon cleared all the houses within reach. Thus 
the battle continued until 12 M., and it was perfectly 
clear, from the manner in which their fire had 
slackened in every quarter, that they were badly 
crippled. One movement more on our part was 
necessary to complete the victory, and that was by 
commanding the public square, their stronghold. 
To effect this, a simultaneous movement — from the 
house occupied by the right wing, upon the alcalde's 

* We might name many instances which came under our observation 
of astonishing marksmanship on the part of our men, by Colonel Wm. F. 
Wilson and others, but must refrain from so doing for fear of making 
this report too prolix. 



office, about fifty yards distant, with a charge of 
Captains Reese and Pearson's companies upon a 
corner house just above them — was necessary. We 
obtained permission of Colonel Fisher to cross over 
to Reese and Pearson's building and give the or- 
der. The house which these companies were to 
occupy was still in possession of a strong body of 
the enemy, and it was necessary to make a charge 
upon it from different directions. One breach had 
already been made in the wall communicating with 
the back yard of said house ; and Captain Reese 
and myself ascended a scaffold which still remained 
against the wall of a new house in our rear, to re- 
connoitre the enemy and see how that wall could 
be scaled. Here we were in the double danger of 
falling from this slender scaffold, fifteen or twenty 
feet high, as well as the fire of the enemy ; and we 
occupied it but a moment, when we were driven 
below by a shower of musket-balls, fired by a pla- 
toon of the enemy at not more than forty yards' dis- 
tance, which made the splinters fly thick about us. 
When I say that neither of us were touched, it will 
give the reader a fair specimen of Mexican marks- 
manship. We, however, determined that it would 
be better to make farther breaches in the wall than 
to expose the men to the enemy's fire by ascending 
such an elevation. To make these breaches re- 
quired time ; so we returned to Colonel Fisher with 
the report, while measures were taken to carry out 
the order. 


Just about this time, private Cody, who has since 
perished in the mountains, stepped up to me, and 
said, " Look, general, yonder is the almightiest fight 
you ever did see." I turned in the direction to 
where he was pointing, and became an eyewitness 
of one of the most thrilling conflicts which the ima- 
gination can conceive. The guard which had been 
left with Berry the night previous, upon the east 
side of the Alcantra, occupied a small adoby house 
about six hundred yards distant, and on the decliv- 
ity of the hill, which gave us a good view of their 
position. Here they had been impatient and anx- 
ious spectators of our battle for some seventeen 
hours, when a troop of cavalry, about sixty in num- 
ber, passed near their house. This was too glorious 
an opportunity to let pass without their assistance ; 
so their rifles and double-barrelled guns were brought 
to bear upon them with most deadly effect, killing 
their commander and eight or ten others, when the 
survivers fled in every direction. In a very few 
minutes after, several hundred cavalry and a field- 
piece were brought up. Berry's guard, well knowing 
that their adoby house could not withstand the force 
of the cannon-shot, determined at once to leave it, 
and charge through the lines of the enemy to our 
position. They accordingly charged, and broke 
the enemy's lines with the most dauntless bravery, 
each one killing his man, and some two, for several 
of them had double-barrelled guns. It was now r 
three hundred yards to the river, to gain which 


point they would be safe, for the enemy would not 
venture closer than that to our fire. Finding now 
their guns empty and no time to reload, the enemy 
pursuing in overwhelming numbers, their only de- 
fence was the butts of their pieces. The multitude 
prevailed, killing James Austin, son of Captain Hen- 
ry Austin, of Brazoria county ; Joe Berry, of do. ; 
Wm Hopson, and J. Jackson, of Ireland, one of 
the Santa Fe prisoners. Richard Kean, of Wash- 
ington, Dr. J. J. Sinnickson, and D. H. E. Beasley, 
of Brazoria, were taken prisoners ; while Bate Ber- 
ry and Tom Davis, of Washington, succeeded in 
reaching our houses with empty guns, and hatless. 
To see the unequal odds which these brave men 
encountered, without the power to succour them, 
was painful and exciting beyond anything we had 
experienced. Poor Berry was bayoneted in his bed. 

After their cavalry had prevailed over these eight 
men, they manifested their joy by the most antic 
capers. They went through every evolution which 
is not in the books ; they fired guns, shouted, and 
blew their trumpets long and loud, always taking 
care not to approach within four hundred yards of 
our rifles. 

About this time a column of the enemy charged 
down a street upon the north of the building we 
occupied. Colonel Fisher being at that point, threw 
himself, with some twenty men, suddenly into the 
street, received their fire, which severely wounded 
several of his men, cutting off, also, the ball of his 


right thumb. They effectually returned their fire, 
when the party fled. Up to this time, for the last 
six hours, the artillery nearest us had been silenced, 
and no one of the enemy dared approach it. It 
had already, as we were afterward told, proved the 
death of fifty-five out of their sixty choice artillery 
company. To get it out of our reach, they had re- 
course to throwing a lasso over it from behind a 
corner, and dragging it off, in which they were 
more successful than in roping the steamboat Yel- 
low Stone, as she passed down the Brasos River in 
1836 : this caused a yell of exultation from their 
troops. Just about this time they were blowing a 
charge in different directions. The writer was in 
the upper end of the buildings nearest the square, 
when he received information that Colonel Fisher 
was wounded: hastening to where he was, he found 
him vomiting from the effects of his wound.* The 

* The effect of this wound upon Colonel Fisher was that of deadly- 
nausea, which produced vomiting. Such, however, is usually the effect 
of gunshot wounds upon the nerves, which, unlike those from the sword 
or knife, show a fall of countenance and a corresponding depression of 
spirits. This physiological fact has been remarked, and I have often been 
struck with the truth of the following remarks of Lord Byron, in the fifth 
note to the " Giaour." He says : " It is to be remarked, in cases of vi- 
olent, deaths by gunshot wounds, the expression is always that of languor, 
whatever the natural energy of the sufferer's character ; but in death 
from a stab, the countenance preserves its traits of feeling or ferocity, 
and the mind its bias to the last." 

It has been said by some of Colonel Fannin's warmest friends, who sur- 
vived the bloody butchery of Goliad, that after he received his wound at 
the battle of Coletto, his spirits sank under it, which had an undue influ- 
ence upon the surrender. I am clearly of opinion that in future the ad- 
vice of a wounded commander should be received with great caution, if 
at all. 


lamented Captain Cameron and his gallant compa- 
ny had occupied, during the battle, a yard in the 
rear of our buildings. This yard had a low stone 
wall around it, which they had bravely defended, 
and from which they had done effectual execution. 
Here Cameron had seven men wounded and three 
killed, who had been brought inside the buildings. 
During this time, when the expected charge was 
looked for, Cameron came in under much excite- 
ment, and asked for a re-enforcement to defend his 
position. For the first time, here something like 
a confusion took place. Many were talking, and 
each one had his plan of defence, and the voice of 
each was drowned in the cabal. This was a criti- 
cal moment. It was the first occasion which seem- 
ed to demand our whole united strength, for previ- 
ously the picked riflemen had principally been in 
requisition. In this state of things, I mounted a 
table and commanded silence in the most peremp- 
tory tone, ordered a sufficent force to Cameron's 
position, and appointed the remaining force to the 
defence of the buildings. Suddenly, from a tempo- 
rary confusion, no men ever behaved better. Each 
man went cheerfully to the post assigned him, with- 
out murmuring or the obtrusion of his farther opin- 
ion, and at this identical time they were in a better 
situation and temper to make effectual resistance 
than at any moment previous, for now they seemed 
more impressed with the necessity of it, when a 
white flag approached from a street leading east. 


At this juncture, in the midst of victory, we date 
our misfortunes. 

Dr. Sinnickson, who, of the eight, had been taken 
prisoner over the Alcantra, having been brought 
to General Ampudia's headquarters, was put upon 
his examination as to our force, &c. ; it, however, 
fully corroborated Walker's statement. In Gen- 
eral Ampudia's staff, as surgeon-general, was Dr. 
Humphries, a Scotchman by birth, formerly sur- 
geon in the Texian army. In 1838 he was tried 
by the District Court of Brazoria county for the 
murder of Joseph Powell, from whence he broke 
jail, and made his escape to Matamoras, where he 
has since practised his profession. The surgeon- 
general knew Dr. Sinnickson in Brazoria, and as 
soon as he communicated the fact to the Mexican 
officers, the cunning Canales and Carasco suggest- 
ed, as a last alternative, that their old deception of 
a white flag should be tried upon us. At this time, 
so badly were they whipped, that we were told by 
Walker, Lusk, and the others of our men who were 
prisoners, and were tied at the general's headquar- 
ters, that the officers' horses were saddled, and held 
each by the bridle, and that the gate of the church- 
yard upon the Matamoras road was opened, and every 
preparation was being made for a flight, when Dr. 
Sinnickson was started to us with the white flag. 
Walker and others, who had been prisoners since 
the day previous, had witnessed the battle from 
where they were confined, knew the enemy was 


badly beaten, and knew their condition too well for 
either of them to be sent in to us. Dr. Sinnicksor? 
having just been taken prisoner, and knowing but 
little of the condition of the enemy, had no chance 
to communicate with the other prisoners, and on 
this account, as well as from his being surgeon in 
our army, he was selected to bring in the flag to us. 
At the time he started with the flag, the other pris- 
oners believed it was for the purpose of asking 
terms from us, nor were they undeceived in this 
particular until they saw a portion of our men 
marching into the public square to lay down their 

Dr. Sinnickson was ordered by General Ampudia 
to say to the Texian commander "that he had 
1700 regular troops in the city, and 800 fresh troops 
near by from Monterey, which would be up in a 
few minutes ; that it was useless for him to contend 
longer against such odds, and that, if he would sur- 
render his forces, they should be treated with all the 
honours and considerations of prisoners of war ; 
that the Santa Fe prisoners should be treated so 
likewise, and that our men should not be sent to 
Mexico, but kept upon the frontier until an ex- 
change or pacification were effected ; and that, if 
these terms were not acceded to, we should be al- 
lowed no quarter." 

While the white jlag approached from the east, 
a column of the enemy's infantry advanced from the 
west, evidently with the intention of getting some 


advantage over us under the protection of the flag. 
By the time the flag reached Colonel Fisher, and 
before any communication could have been received 
from the bearer, the head of the column had ap- 
proached within a few feet of the building where I 
was at that time. They approached without their 
arms being reversed, and in a hostile attitude, when 
I ordered a man at my side to shoot the foremost, 
which was promptly done. The next two shots I 
fired from my repeating rifle with equally good 
effect, when the remainder of the column dodged 
around a stone wall to their right. Our recollec- 
tion is that these were the last two shots fired, and 
certain it is they were the last two which my faith- 
ful gun fired. 

Some few moments elapsed between Dr. Sin- 
nickson's first communication with Colonel Fisher 
and the astounding information which was commu- 
nicated to our men, that it was a demand for us to 
surrender, for up to this time a general impression 
prevailed that they were asking terms of us. When 
this information was communicated to our men, it 
was promptly met by a general burst of disapproba- 
tion, " that they never would surrender their arms." 
The Mexican officers, who had been watching the 
reception which the white flag met, saw that it was 
still detained, and some discussion going on near it, 
and without any invitation or understanding upon 
our part, took occasion to slip clandestinely into our 
ranks from a direction different from that in which 



the flag had come. The officers who had thus, like 
spies, obtruded themselves into our lines without 
our permission, were General De la Vega, Colo- 
nels Carasco, Blanco, and one other, and the priest 
of Comargo, Padre De Lire. These officers, who 
had thus unwarrantably introduced themselves 
among us, saluted Colonel Fisher (several of whom 
were previously acquainted with him in the Federal 
War) with their hypocritical Mexican hug, calling 
him their dear friend, and pledging the straps upon 
their shoulders, with all the sanctity of honour and 
candour, that General Ampudia's terms would be 
fully carried out ; the priest of Comargo, at the 
same time, pledging the holy Catholic religion to 
this observance, and in his fervency at deception, 
says to Colonel Fisher, with uplifted eyes, " My dear 
son, do not throw yourself away." During the 
Federal War Colonel Fisher had been confined at 
Comargo with the smallpox, when this priest ad- 
ministered extreme unction to him, for which reason 
he doubtless took the liberty of so familiar an ad- 
dress. I believed then, as I do now, and have done 
since the murder of Colonel Fannin and his four 
hundred, that no confidence could be placed in a 
Mexican's word. That these officers had forfeited 
their lives by introducing themselves as spies into 
our camp, and to let them return with their knowl- 
edge of our strength, situation, &c, would prove 
ruinous to us. My first impulse, under these re- 
flections, was to shoot them for thus introducing 


themselves into our lines, and for, as it appeared 
to me, this most novel and unprecedented attempt 
to gull us into a surrender. Acting under this im- 
pression, I quickly brought my repeating rifle to 
bear upon them, when Captain William Ryan 
jumped before me, knocked it up, and begged that 
I would hold until more could be known of their 
propositions and intentions. They continued, in 
the most fervent manner, to pledge their good faith 
to Colonel Fisher, Captain Eastland, and some 
others of our officers, who were talking with them, 
when I ordered Captain Cameron to form his com- 
pany near by, and be in readiness for farther orders, 
which he promptly did. Then stepping up to Colo- 
nel Fisher, I requested him to stand aside, so that 
Cameron's company could fire into them. Colonel 
Fisher peremptorily refused to do so. I then re- 
quested permission to take them prisoners, and 
march them unharmed, at the head of our column, 
to the camp, upon the east side of the Rio Grande, 
where, under any possible circumstances, we would 
be safe. This was also refused. Captain Reese, 
whose company was formed some forty yards still 
higher up, in the direction of the square, came up 
and requested the same thing ; he was also refused. 
Under these circumstances, these officers returned 
to their lines with a full knowledge of everything 
concerning ourselves, and a full knowledge of all 
that was important for them to know ; granting, be- 
fore they departed, one hour for the matter to be 


This hour I believed of the most vital impor- 
tance. Several of the officers and a respectable 
minority of the men had signified their willingness, 
some avowedly, and others tacitly, to accept the 
terms. I believed that it would be easy to convince 
these men of their error. I therefore went to the 
brave Cameron, and asked him " if it was possible 
that he was in favour of a surrender." The bare 
mention of the word choked him : he was too full 
for utterance ; but, taking me by the hand, he car- 
ried me into the building where our wounded were. 
Here he had seven of his old company, who had 
followed him for three years through many dangers 
and* hard-fought battles. Most of these men called 
upon us not to leave them in language which would 
have wrung tears from hearts of stone. Some im- 
plored us, for mercy's sake, to blow out their brains, 
and ease them of their misery ; while there were 
some, more iron-nerved than the rest, who rolled 
out withering imprecations upon the enemy, and 
called upon us, for the honour of our country, never 
to surrender. One of these brave fellows, whose 
thigh was broken, called me to him, and drew from 
his belt a pair of silver-mounted pistols, which he 
placed in my hand, with tears in his eyes, saying, 
" General, this is all I can do for you now' 9 * This 
scene was distressing beyond any power of utter- 
ance. Our twenty-three wounded, some with bro- 
ken limbs, others shot through the body, and one poor 
fellow with both eyes shot out, lay scattered over 

* This was young Bobo, of South Carolina. 


the floor, interspersed with the dead, presenting a 
scene calculated to excite one's deepest sympathies 
over all other feelings. Cameron said, " General, 
what would you do V My answer was, " Men, if 
by staying with you we could ease your pains or 
heal your wounds, the sooner my voice would be to 
remain ; but you will have your own physician, and 
will doubtless be treated as well by our going as if 
we were to remain and surrender, for even then we 
would be separated." We passed out of the house, 
and I immediately sought the gallant Captain Ryan, 
of the Fort Bend company. He informed me that 
most of his company were for fighting it out ; and 
while in conversation with him, Cameron returned, 
and in a voice of harsh determination, which his 
Highland Scotch accent rendered peculiarly im- 
pressive, said, " By God, general, me and the whole 
of my company will go it !" To the lasting credit 
of Captains Reese and Pearson's companies, the 
whole of them, to a man, were opposed to surren- 
der. Thus was the hour spent by myself, Captains 
Cameron, Ryan, Reese, Pearson, Buster, Dr. Bren- 
nem, Judge Gibson, and others, in explaining to the 
men the entire practicability of marching in close 
order to where we the night before crossed the 
Alcantra, which was within three hundred yards, 
thence down the right bank about two miles to the 
Rio Grande, and so up the same to our camp. I 
informed the men " that under no possible circum- 
stances could we lose more than fifty, and that our 


probable loss would not exceed twenty ; for the pre- 
cipitous right bank of the Alcantra would protect 
us from any cavalry charge, while we had nothing 
to fear from the infantry in a country so broken and 
so suited to our rifles ; that I would head them in this 
attempt, and would pledge my life upon the result." 
The hour was about to close, when Colonel Fisher 
requested me to accompany him to General Ampu- 
dia's headquarters. Having from the first opposed 
the whole of their terms, my opposition had increas- 
ed as I reflected upon the frequent times that we 
had been cheated by their cursed ivhitejlag, and I 
refused so to do. He went alone, where he remain- 
ed some fifty minutes. Good use was made of this 
time by those who were in favour of fighting it out ; 
and when Colonel Fisher returned, I do not believe 
that there exceeded twenty who were willing to 

Colonel Fisher formed the different companies in 
the street to communicate the result of his interview 
with the Mexican commander, which was a reiter- 
ation of his former promises, and he concluded by 
saying that "I have known General Ampudia for 
years — know him to be an honourable man, and 
will vouch for his carrying them out ; that if you 
are willing to accept these terms, you will march 
into the public square and give up your arms, or 
prepare for battle in H\e minutes ; that, in any view 
of the case, your situation is a gloomy one, for you 
cannot fight your way out of this place to the Rio 


Grande short of a loss of two thirds, or perhaps the 
whole ; but if you are determined to fight, I will be 
with you, and sell my life as dear as possible." 
This speech was a deathblow to all farther pros- 
pect of fighting, for it at once determined half of 
the men to surrender, who instantly separated from 
the remainder, and moved off in the direction of 
the square. Among these were many of our oldest 
and most respectable fellow-citizens, and several 
who had heretofore stood deservedly high. 

Now a scene commenced which defies descrip- 
tion. In the countenances of those whom Colonel 
Fisher's speech did not induce to surrender, were 
disappointment, sorrow, rage : many shed tears, 
some swore, while others maintained a sullen de- 
termination, which showed that they were prepared 
for the worst. Those who marched off with the 
intention of surrendering showed in their coun- 
tenances that they believed the act would pur- 
chase their lives. They did not pass Reese and 
Pearson's companies, which were still formed and 
nearest the square, without a shower of impreca- 
tions upon their heads. " Go !" says one. " I hope 
you may never enjoy the sight of your country and 

liberty again !" "Go," says another, "you 

cowards ! and rot in chains and slavery ;" and such 
like anathemas, which, from their solemn truths, 
seemed to fall heavy upon their spirits, for they re- 
turned no answer, but marched into captivity in si- 
lent obedience. In a feeling of rage and contempt 


which I was far from controlling, I pursued this 
party several steps, determined to exhaust the last 
shot of my repeater upon them, and take the con- 
sequences. Here I was met by an old friend, whose 
head was frosted by seventy years. He addressed 
me in a tone of feeling and friendship, which dis- 
armed me of my intention, but possessed me of 
another feeling which absorbed my whole soul. I 
believed that we would be sacrificed, felt that I 
could stand it, and longed to see whether the oth- 
ers could. Under this feeling, I broke my arms 
upon the pavement, and said to them, "Now we 
will see who can stand shooting the best." In a few 
minutes I went into the square, where I found a 
group of officers in front of several companies of 
infantry. Among this group was the Mexican sur- 
geon-general, Dr. Humphries, who knew me in Tex- 
as : he advanced and spoke to me cordially. I asked 
him to show me General Ampudia, which he did. 
Unhooking my naked sword-belt, I advanced and 
delivered it to him, announcing myself at the same 
time. I remarked to him, that, " having opposed the 
surrender in vain, I was prepared either for the prison 
or to be shot, and was perfectly indifferent in the 
choice." He received me kindly, and replied that 
" he appreciated the feelings of the brave, but mine 
was the fate of war ; that his house and friendship 
were mine, and that he hoped I would consider my- 
self his guest, and call upon him freely for any ser- 
vice in his power." I thanked him for his personal 


good feelings, and turned to look for the party who 
had preceded me, and found their rifles laid out in 
a row upon the ground, and two or three officers 
counting their catskin and tiger-tailed pouches with 
an indifference which showed they knew nothing 
of their value. This was a melancholy sight, from 
which I was relieved by some one calling to me 
from the iron grating of a window about forty yards 
distant. I approached the window, and found about 
one hundred of our men jammed into a small, filthy 
room ; and the man who was calling to me wished 
me to " keep an eye upon the disposition of their 
arms, for," said he, " we find too late that you were 
right, and if we can get hold of our 'tools once 
more, we will go it with a looseness." Thus soon 
did their repentance commence, and long will it con- 

The balance of our men, as their arms were de- 
livered up, were thrust into two other rooms, each 
distant from the other sixty or eighty steps. Gen- 
eral Ampudia invited Colonel Fisher and myself to 
his headquarters on the opposite side of the square, 
adjoining the church. In this room was seated at 
a table the cunning Canales, drawing up the " Arti- 
cles of Capitulation," which were soon after impo- 
sed on us for what they did not contain. On the 
floor, writhing in death-agonies, was the unfortunate 
Colonel Arsinal, adjutant-general of the enemy's 
forces. " There," said General Ampudia, with tears 
in his eyes, " is my son, the hope of the army, the 



pride of the service. He has a death-shot through 
the kidneys, and must soon die." We replied that 
" it was the fate of war, and the brave in all ranks 
share our sympathy." This accomplished and un- 
fortunate young officer was only twenty-six years 
of age, highly favoured by nature in his personal 
appearance, and had attained his elevated rank 
through wonderful proficiency in his profession. 

While Canales was basely engaged in writing the 
articles of capitulation, General Ampudia had Col- 
onel Fisher and myself served with coffee and choc- 
olate, which were the more grateful, as we had been 
since the previous morning without refreshment. In 
the mean time the articles of capitulation were sign- 
ed by General Ampudia, and his interpreter, by the 
name of Alderette, formerly a citizen of Victoria 
county, was called in to read them. The following 
is a literal translation from the original : 

" Camp of the Army of the North, > 
1st Division. \ 

" Agreeable to the conference I had with General 
William S. Fisher, I have decided to grant, 

" 1st. That all who will give up their arms will 
be treated with the consideration which is in ac- 
cordance with the magnanimous Mexican nation. 

" 2d. That conformably to the petition which the 
said General Fisher has made to me, all persons be- 
longing to the Santa Fe Expedition will receive the 
same treatment and guarantees as the rest. 

" 3d. All who desire to avail themselves of these 


terms will enter the square and there deliver up 
their arms. Pedro d'Ampudia." 

When the interpreter read the first article, the 
words " with the consideration ivhich is in accordance 
with the magnanimous Mexican nation" were studi- 
ously rendered " with all the honour and considera- 
tion of prisoners ofivar" These latter words com- 
prehended everything we had a right to claim ; but, 
always doubting Mexican treachery, I suggested to 
Colonel Fisher if it would not be better for us to 
have our interpreter. He replied that, though he 
did not speak the language, he could read and trans- 
late it ; and, after looking over the paper, he made 
no objection to it. At the door we found several 
of our captains waiting to hear the articles read. 
The interpreter then read them as he had done to 
us, which also satisfied them. 

The aggregate number of Texians engaged in the 
battle were two hundred and sixty-one, our loss 
being ten killed, twenty-three badly, and several 
slightly wounded.* 

The aggregate number of the Mexican forces en- 
gaged were twenty- three hundred and forty, com- 
posed of the Zapadores battalion, the Yucatan regi- 
ment, a portion of each of the seventh and twelfth 
regiments, and the artillery company of sixty men — 
regulars, in all twelve hundred and forty ; also eight 
hundred mounted defensors, under Colonel Canales, 

* See Appendix No. I. 


and not less than three hundred citizens in and 
about Mier.* Their loss was between seven and 
eight hundred killed and wounded. The Mexican 
report of their loss on the evening of the surrender 
was four hundred and thirty killed and two hundred 
and thirty wounded. Canales, in his official de- 
spatch, in avoiding the truth, says, "As every great 
good costs dear, the streets and gutters of Mier over- 
flowed with valiant Mexican blood." All their offi- 
cers that I conversed with admitted their loss to be 
rising of seven hundred. It is certain that only four 
hundred and sixty regulars marched back to Mata- 
moras, myself and other officers counting them ev- 
ery day between Mier and that city ; and I am in- 
formed by Dr. Sinnickson that none but killed and 
wounded were left behind. The regulars were so 
thinned that General Ampudia did not think them 
a sufficient guard for our two hundred and twenty- 
six prisoners, our wounded being left behind ; and 
he required Canales with his mounted defensors, all 
of whom belonged to the upper towns, to accom- 
pany them. The loss of their cavalry must have 
been considerable at the lower ford, while those 
who attacked Joseph Berry's guard could not have 
been less than twenty. We were informed at Mat- 
amoras by the United States consul and several 
American and English gentlemen, who had it in 

* The enemy's force has been variously estimated from twenty-seven 
hundred to thirty three hundred ; but I have adopted an estimate still 
smaller, and one that I know to be under the mark. 


confidence from the Mexican officers, that their loss 
exceeded eight hundred in killed and wounded. 
Their official report to the war department of the 
amount of ammunition expended in the battle was 
nine hundred cannon cartridges and forty-three 
thousand musket cartridges, besides three hundred 
rockets, &c, while ours was between fourteen and 
fifteen hundred of every description. There never 
has existed in any age a nation who understood so 
well as the Texians this important matter, " never 
to shoot without killing ;" and this will explain why 
a larger proportion than one to two of our shots 
took effect in this battle. 

With the permission of General Ampudia, I visit- 
ed the church that evening to see our wounded, and 
carried them a quantity of bandages. Doctors Sin- 
nickson, Brennem, and Shepherd were then attend- 
ing them. All appeared to be cheerful, though most 
of them were badly, and several mortally wounded. 
I have never yet seen a calamity so great befall 
Texians as to prevent their making fun ; and upon 
inquiry how they were off for rations, they replied, 
" Oh ! we have plenty of brains, general." In the 
same building, one hundred and thirty-six of the 
enemy's wounded were stretched out on the floor, 
many of whom had been shot in the head, and their 
brains had oozed out, from the size of a marble to 
that of one's fist. It was a horrible sight, but will 
explain what our fun-making wounded meant. 

The enemy were mostly wounded in the head 


and breast, a large portion of whom died the first 
night. From many observations, I find that the la- 
cerating effect of the rifle ball is far more dangerous 
than the smooth bore ; and that the wound of a rifle 
ball carrying eighty to one hundred per pound is 
more dangerous, both from the lacerating effect the 
former has upon the flesh, and the small orifice it 
makes, which is insufficient to discharge the blood, 
and, consequently, the patient bleeds inwardly. 

The evening after the battle Colonel Fisher ad- 
dressed the following note to General Ampudia : 

" Mier, Dec. 26th, 1842. 

" Sir, — The forces which, through the chances 
of war, I now surrender to you, are composed of 
the most valiant and intelligent citizens of Texas. 
They have contended manfully against your supe- 
rior force, and have yielded only when it was deem- 
ed folly longer to contend. 

" Your well-established character as a brave and 
magnanimous officer is a certain guarantee to me 
that they will be treated as brave men deserve to be. 

" I have the honour to be most respectfully yours, 
" Wm. S. Fisher, commanding. 

" To General Pedro d'Ampudia, commanding Mexican army." 

Thus ended the battle of Mier, the best fought 
of any during the revolution. To the brave men 
who justly won it, their inglorious surrender proved 
a sore defeat ; but in all the moral and political con- 
sequences of this battle to Texas, a glorious tri- 
umph ! 


We repeat that the battle of Mier, in its moral 
and political consequences to our country, was a 
glorious triumph. It was there that the people of 
Texas demonstrated the entire practicability of con- 
quering and holding that rich valley against im- 
mense odds. It was there that the people of Tex- 
as pursued and fought them nine to one, killing 
treble their own numbers, and proving themselves 
invincible to everything but duplicity and treach- 
ery ; and it was there that the Texian made the 
name of his rifle and death synonymous terms 
throughout Mexico. Far from being of the least 
political advantage to Texas is the geographical 
knowledge acquired by our countrymen, both of the 
Valley of the Rio Grande and the situation of its 
towns, the river and mountain passes, and its defen- 
sible positions. 

Though the survivers of the Mier men have suf- 
fered all the horrors of multiplied deaths, and many 
of their brave companions have gone to their eter- 
nal homes in all the agonies of human suffering, yet 
it was a tribute they freely rendered to their coun- 
try's honour and liberty. It is for that country to 
say whether it shall prove a burnt-offering or a pos- 
itive good. 



White Flag. — Dr. Sinnickson's Statement. — Cavalry sent after our Camp- 
guard. — Camp-guard Escapes. — Major BonnePs Death. — Return of Cav- 
alry. — Preparation to march for Matamoras. — Dr. Sinnickson left in 
Charge of our Wounded. — Their Treatment and Escape. — March for 
Matamoras. — Suffering of our Men. — Triumphal Entry into Comargo. — 
Camp in a Cow-pen. — The Bull Comedy. — Camp in a Sheep-pen. — A 
new Comedy. — Triumphal Entry into Rhinosa. — Ridiculous Show. — 
Arrival at Guadaloupe. — Congratulations to Ampudia. — Visit of Tom 
and Esau. — Triumphal Entry into Matamoras. — Texas Negroes in Mat- 
amoras. — Our Incarceration in Prison, and Note to General Ampudia. 

Much has been said of our improper surrender at 
the battle of Mier, and now all agree that it was not 
only improper, but wholly unnecessary. The reader 
will therefore see why it is that we have been seem- 
ingly tedious in our report of that battle. We have 
detailed facts apparently unimportant, for the pur- 
pose of affording opportunity to the reader to draw 
his own conclusion as to whom the wrong was at- 
tributable, if to any. There can be no difference 
of opinion that it was a radical mistake in not for- 
cing the white flag off as soon as its object was 
known. Colonel Fisher says that he ordered Dr. 
Sinnickson to retire with it seven or eight times, 
and was not obeyed. Dr. Sinnickson is a gentle- 
man long and favourably known in Texas, and, to 
do him full justice, we herewith connect his state- 
ment of this affair. (See Appendix No. IV.) On 
the other hand, it has been said, if Colonel Fisher, 
as commander, was not obeyed the first time that 


he ordered the flag off, he wore his sword to little 
purpose not to use it in so critical a juncture. 
Nothing can be more certain than that the whole of 
our command was both in better temper and order 
to make effectual resistance at this identical period 
than at any previous time during the battle. The 
second grand mistake was in permitting the before- 
mentioned Mexican officers and the priest of Co- 
margo to introduce themselves at all into our ranks, 
and then retire with a full knowledge of all that was 
important to their success and our defeat. The 
third grand mistake was in our commander vouch- 
ing for General Ampudia as a man of honour, and 
that his promises would be carried out, &c. These, 
however, I look upon as the mischances of war, and 
believe that no severer reflection should be made. I 
have never questioned the personal bravery of those 
who advocated the surrender, and certain it is that 
those who have expressed doubts upon this subject 
are not justified in so doing by a life of boldness, es- 
pecially in Colonel Fisher, which has signalized him 
among the foremost in our revolution. 

The evening after the battle, General Ampudia 
informed Colonel Fisher and myself that he would 
send his cavalry out to our camp upon the east side 
of the Rio Grande to bring in the balance of our 
men, horses, camp furniture, &c. ; and, to prevent 
the farther effusion of blood, he would advise us to 
write to the men in camp to surrender and come in. 
We replied that we were prisoners, and they were 



free; we could not, therefore, undertake to give such 
advice. I requested permission of the general for 
one of our men to accompany the cavalry, and to 
secure my baggage, the most important part of which 
was my journal, and manuscript maps of the roads, 
rivers, and the parts of the country through which 
we had travelled. Having obtained the permission 
asked for, I sent Sailing-master Lyon, with a know- 
ing wink, to our boys in camp. The cavalry ap- 
proached the river to within a few hundred yards, 
halted, and sent Lyon and a few men to " Halloo 
across, and order our men to bring over the boats /" 
Lyon being an indifferent Spanish, and the Mexi- 
cans with him worse English scholars, anglicized 
the above order thus : " Boys, we are all prisoners, 
and several hundred cavalry are close by in pursuit of 
you. Take all the good horses and put !" This ad- 
vice was promptly acted upon, and all our camp- 
guard reached home in safety, with the exception 
of our lamented countryman, Major George W. 

Major Bonnel, than whom Texas did not possess 
a purer patriot or braver man, in company with Dr. 
Watson and Mr. Hackstaff, when the army crossed 
the river the day previous to attack General Ampu- 
dia, then a mile below, were cooking our dinner, 
which consisted of a fat sheep, with a stick run 
through it, the ends of which rested upon the sides 
of a large canoe, with the fire in its bottom. We 
expected to have warm work with Ampudia, and 


ordered these gentlemen to float the canoe down 
opposite the battle-ground, hitch it to a bush, come 
up, take a hand, and then we could relish our din- 
ner the better. As we have before explained, when 
we arrived in sight of the Mexican army, they re- 
treated to the city at right angles from the river, 
leaving my friends and my dinner behind, they hav- 
ing no alternative then but to join the camp-guard. 
After the latter retreated, as Lyon advised them, 
some miles, Major Bonnel and one other man re- 
turned to camp for more of our horses, and was 
captured. Poor Bonnel was murdered, as his com- 
panion reported, who made his escape. Major B. 
was not only constitutionally brave, but, being a 
Santa Fe prisoner, he was doubtless stimulated to 
a more obstinate resistance, which could neither 
prevail over numbers, nor was calculated to inspire 
their savage breasts with magnanimity for such he- 
roism. Thus fell a brave man and a pure patriot, 
without the last sad rites of burial. His bones now 
lie bleaching upon the banks of Rio del Norte. His 
spirit, if congenial spirits meet in heaven, will hold 
glorious communion with those of Milam and Trav- 
is, of Fannin, Grant, and Ward, of Bowie, Crock- 
et, Brennem, Fitzgerald, and a host of other heroes 
who fell in the same struggle for liberty. 

On the evening of the 27th, the cavalry which 
had been despatched to bring in our camp-guard 
returned with 320 of our most indifferent horses 
and mules, and a quantity of rubbish, consisting of 


old saddles, empty saddlebags, blankets, &c. Cap- 
tain Alderette, the officer who had been sent in 
charge of the cavalry, as an excuse for not bringing 
in our camp-guard, represented them to be one hun- 
dred and twenty strong, and that they had retreated 
upon the best horses. General Ampudia expressed 
surprise that our men had not surrendered, and came 
in and informed Colonel Fisher and myself what the 
officer had said about their number. We answered 
that it was not in the history of our nation to sur- 
render without fighting, and that the officer had 
told him a falsehood to screen himself for not fight- 
ing them. We informed General A. at the same 
time that our camp-guard were well apprized of our 
fate, and had selected all our fine American horses, 
and it would be idle to pursue them. He, however, 
started Colonel Carasco, with six hundred cavalry, 
in pursuit, who returned the fourth day deeply cha- 
grined to confirm what we had said. 

Preparations were now busily making for the 
march to Matamoras. Their dead were lowered 
from the house-tops by means of cords, which oc- 
cupied all the day succeeding the battle, and their 
wounded were billeted about the town upon the 
citizens, according to their respective abilities to 
maintain them. Dr. Sinnickson was left in charge 
of our wounded men, and every kindness promised 
to be afforded him and them. From the doctor's 
report, none of these promises were carried out, but 
they were, instead, treated by the commandant in 


charge of them in a most brutal mariner. Some 
two weeks after, eight of these wounded men made 
their escape to Texas (see Appendix No. I.), and 
the doctor, with the balance, were sent off to Mat- 

December the 31st, General Ampudia took up the 
line of march for Matamoras in the following order : 
Colonel Fisher, myself, Adjutant Murry, and our four 
small boys, were kept with the general, under the 
special charge of Captain Clemente Castro, a brave, 
honourable, and good man, who had so miraculous- 
ly survived his artillery company. We will ever 
feel grateful for the many kindnesses extended us 
by this officer, and rejoice to hear of his promotion, 
which he so well deserved. Our men were march- 
ed in double file, in the centre of the road, with ar- 
tillery before and in their rear. On each side of 
them was a single file of infantry with fixed bayo- 
nets, and on the outside of them were cavalry. In 
the rear, also, a large body of cavalry was kept in 
reserve. In this order, the march was conducted at 
a rapid pace, without allowing our men to stop for 
water, for which they suffered greatly, not having 
means to pack it. They, not being used to walk- 
ing, and having been shut up in a close room for 
the last five days previous, suffered greatly with sore 
feet and fatigue. That night they reached the Rio 
St. Juan, opposite the town of Comargo, and en- 
camped, with but little fuel ; consequently, they 
had small fires, and a most bleak norther blowing. 


Our men suffered greatly here : all their blankets, 
worth taking, had been stolen by the cavalry ; and 
when the fires would burn down, they, to keep 
themselves warm, would rake away the burning 
coals, and lay in piles in the ashes. We have fre- 
quently observed what an exhilarating influence the 
French language has upon men when in the worst 
physical condition. Those who understood that 
language would appear happy under its spirit-stir- 
ring airs, while our John Bull natures would com- 
promise with nothing but full rations ; and I believe 
that there are patriotic Frenchmen who would keep 
as fat upon a bottle of claret and the Marseilles 
hymn, as some of the English breed would upon the 
hind-quarter of a bullock. 

January 1st. Our men were crossed over the 
Rio St. Juan into the town of Comargo, which is 
a beautiful place, containing about three thousand 
inhabitants, situated immediately upon the south 
side of the river, and six miles from its entrance 
into the Rio Grande. Here commenced the grand 
menagerie show of our prisoners, which was kept 
up during their zigzag march of fifteen hundred 
miles through Mexico. Our men were marched 
through the town and around the military square 
under the ringing of bells, firing of crackers and 
guns, and the "vivas" of the populace. A large 
number of small children, of both sexes, carried 
round the town, and in front of our men, long rolls 
of paper pasted together, upon which were painted 


the most bombastic and ridiculous mottoes, such as 
" Glory and gratitude to the brave Canales" — " Eter- 
nal honour to the immortal Ampudia," &c. Our 
men were placed in three separate prisons, where 
they remained until the next day. Colonel Fisher, 
myself, Adjutant Murry, and the small boys were 
quartered at the house of Don Trinedad, a kind 
and hospitable man, who showed us every attention 
in his power. 

January 2d. Marched ten miles to a rancho, 
where our men were herded in a cow-pen for the 
night ; and though they were suffering from sore 
feet, occasioned by the first day's march, yet there 
were some among them who would have their fun. 
Being herded in a cow-pen like so many cattle, the 
fun-makers were determined to complete the char- 
acter. They would get down upon their all-fours, 
bow their necks, paw up the dirt, and low like bulls, 
to the no small astonishment of their captors. 

January 3d. Our men were marched twenty-one 
miles to old Rhinosa, over a fine tract of country, 
and here herded in a sheep-pen. Here, too, the 
comedians had a new character to play, and it is 
certain they bleated more like sheep than any sheep 
in Mexico. 

January 4th. Our men were marched eighteen 
miles to New Rhinosa, situated upon a high hill, 
about one mile from the Rio Grande, and contain- 
ing 2000 inhabitants. Here great preparation had 
been made for the victor's triumphal entry. Tri- 


umphal arches, made of reeds bound together, and 
decorated with parti-coloured handkerchiefs, calico, 
and ladies' shawls and petticoats, were thrown 
across the principal streets through which we pass- 
ed, and from which appropriate mottoes of glory 
and honour were suspended. To make our sur- 
prise the greater, and impress us the more with the 
wonderful resources of the great nation, just as we 
entered the town, riding in company with the gen- 
eral and staff, the warriors of the Careese tribe of 
Indians, naked, with the exception of the breech- 
clout, and painted after their war fashion, suddenly 
popped into our path, at the same time giving the 
war-whoop and firing their guns in our faces. Then 
suddenly wheeling off to reload, the same manoeu- 
vres were repeated several times. This excited 
mirth rather than surprise, and was followed by 
something more ridiculous still : about twenty little 
boys, between the ages of ten and fourteen, led by 
a little old man of sixty, who was not larger than a 
boy of twelve years old, all most fantastically dress- 
ed with different coloured handkerchiefs, and rib- 
ands fixed about them, with small mirrors fastened 
upon their heads so as to form an obelisk of four 
sides. Each held in his hand a long-handled gourd, 
decorated with blue and yellow paper, with small 
gravel inside. They were attended by several fid- 
dlers, and suddenly appeared before us, led by their 
old leader, dancing in regular time to the music, first 
upon one foot and then upon the other. They so 


contrived, that while one foot was hopping to the 
music, the other was shaking to it, and the long- 
handled gourd and pebbles of each kept good time 
with the fiddles and the motions of the little old 
man. He would lead his little band close to our 
horses' heads, and as we advanced, by motion of 
his arms, his double file of juveniles would wheel off 
right and left, precede us thirty or forty yards, and 
perform the same manoeuvres over, always keeping 
good time in step and motion. Thus were we 
danced to our quarters about half a mile. 

We remained here the 5th. Through the inter- 
cession of Padre De Lire, the priest of Comargo, Dr. 
Wm. M. Shepherd was taken out of the prison and 
permitted to accompany our party, which was kept 
with the general. The padre was informed that 
Dr. S. prevented his being fired upon as he was 
coming into our ranks previous to the surrender at 
Mier, for which he felt grateful ; and he often evin- 
ced his gratitude by taking from his pocket a flask 
of brandy, vino mascal, and taking a drink with us. 
Here we left one of our men, by the name of 
M'Dade, who shortly after died. 

January 6th. Marched to church to witness the 
ceremony of mass, accompanied by the firing of 
cannon and crackers, &c. ; then marched twen- 
ty-five miles, and again lodged in a cowpen. In 
passing a cornfield, a negro fellow, who had run off 
from Texas, looked over the fence, and, after giving 
his head a mournful shake, he said, in a still more 



melancholy voice, " Aha ! white man, dey cotch you 
now ; dey gib you hell !" This comfort was quite 
as good as their cowpen lodgings, up to their ankles 
in wet manure. 

January 7th. Marched eighteen miles, and quar- 
tered in a cowpen. It was of much importance to 
get a cowpen to put our men in, as they were more 
easily guarded ; hence the difference in the march- 
es, which were suited to the locality of said pens. 
These pens were built by placing pickets close to- 
gether in the ground, in an upright position, and 
fastening their tops with rawhide to a horizontal 
timber. Around these pens their guards would be 

January 8th. Marched fifteen miles over a rich, 
flat country, well adapted to the cultivation of sugar, 
and camped again in a cowpen at the village of 
Warloupe. While at this place, many citizens of 
consequence came out from Matamoras to congrat- 
ulate General Ampudia upon his victory. Among 
these were two of our acquaintances, Tom and Esau. 
These gentlemen, now of so much consequence as 
to ride three leagues in a coach to congratulate 
General Ampudia upon his splendid victory, were 
General Sam Houston's two barbers, so well known 
to the public of Texas. Tom treated us with mark- 
ed respect and attention, spoke of his prospects in 
that country, his intended nuptials, invited us to the 
wedding, and said that General Ampudia was to 
stand godfather on the occasion. He remarked to 


General Ampudia, upon meeting him, in our pres- 
ence, " Well, general, I told you, before leaving 
Matamoras, that when you met these gentlemen 
you would catch it." He spoke much of Texas, 
said that he appreciated many gentlemen there 
highly, but that he could not consent longer to be 
the slave of such an unprincipled monster as Sam 
Houston, and regretted the necessity of leaving the 
country. Esau was more sulky, spoke in disreputa- 
ble terms of his old master, and insultingly to some 
of our men. 

January 9th. Marched nine miles to Matamoras; 
but, before entering the city, we were halted for the 
general to receive the congratulations of a large 
number of friends who came out in coaches to meet 
him. Many women and girls came out with joyous 
countenances to meet their husbands and sweet- 
hearts, but, alas for them, they had experienced the 
effect of the Texian rifle at Mier, and they returned 
with heavy hearts and bitter lamentations. A tri- 
umphal arch was thrown across the principal street 
through which we passed at every hundred yards ; 
and, to make the grand pageant as imposing as pos- 
sible, soldiers were stationed upon each side of the 
street about thirty feet apart, and what they lacked 
in soldiers they made up for the occasion by placing 
soldier-clothes upon citizens. We first accompanied 
the general to the church, which he entered to re- 
ceive the blessings of the fathers ; at the same time 
we were placed under the charge of Captain Castro, 


who hurried us along at full gallop to the general's 
quarters, to prevent the populace from offering in- 
sults. Thence followed our men slowly and sol- 
emnly up one street and down another, to give the 
brutal populace full opportunity to gaze at, and heap 
upon them dirty epithets, in which their language is 
so copious. Among the populace were a large num- 
ber of negroes who absconded from Texas: these 
were among the foremost in their abusive epithets, 
and our men, without the power of punishing such 
insolence, would gnash their teeth in rage. At night 
a grand ball was given in honour of General Am- 
pudia and officers, and we were turned over in 
charge of a new officer, who, to secure us the better 
for the night, conducted us to a lodging in an unfur- 
nished room in the common prison. Here we were 
locked up without fire, bedding, or any article of fur- 
niture. This we presumed was done by order of 
the general; and it was so much at variance both 
with our former treatment and his gratuitous prom- 
ises to us, that, after much persuasion, I obtained 
from the officer of the guard pen, ink, and paper, 
and addressed him a note, which was forthwith de- 
livered, in which note we abused his Mexican per- 
fidy and falsehood in the broadest terms. To our 
astonishment, in about one hour the doors of our 
prison were thrown open, and we reconducted to 
our former quarters by the general's aid-de-camp. 
We have reason to believe this was the more prompt- 
ly done through the intercession of General Romola 


de la Vega and Captain Castro. Next morning 
General Ampudia, after apologizing for our treat- 
ment the night before, informed us that we must 
prepare for immediate march to the city of Mexico. 
He also informed us that Colonel Fisher and myself 
should be sent on in advance of our men, as hosta- 
ges for their good conduct. We replied, that if we 
were denied the privilege of accompanying our 
men, which we most preferred, we would cheerfully 
go in their advance to Mexico, to endeavour to do 
them all possible service. We also desired a day 
to make preparations and write letters to the United 
States and Texas, which was granted. After our 
letters were written, they were submitted to his in- 
spection, which he in the most gentlemanly manner 
declined, and endorsed a free passport upon them. 

Matamoras is the only American-built town we 
saw in Mexico. It has many frame houses with 
shingled roofs, and is built of as combustible mate- 
rials as most Southern towns in the United States. 
It is situated about half a mile from the Rio Grande, 
and thirty from its mouth, contains a population of 
about ten thousand, and is the most defenceless city 
in Mexico, 



Preparations for March to Mexico. — Our Friends J. P. Schatzell, Marks, 
and Strother. — Protest against ironing our Men. — March for Monterey 
under charge of Colonel Savriego. — Held as Hostages for the good 
Conduct of our Men. — Interview with them in Prison. — Arrival at Cai- 
dereta. — Bad Treatment. — Letter to Ampudia.— Arrival at Monterey. 
— Character of Colonel Savriego. — Quartered at Colonel Bermudez's. 
— His Character and Family. — Interview with Governor Ortega. 

January 10th and 11th were employed in wri- 
ting and preparing for our march. Several Amer- 
ican gentlemen called upon us and offered their ser- 
vices, among whom we recollect with gratitude Mr. 
J. P. Schatzell, Mr. Marks, United States vice-con- 
sul, and Mr. Strother. These gentlemen were of 
infinite service to our men in furnishing money, 
blankets, and other absolute necessaries, without 
which they must have suffered much more than 
they did. While they have laid us under lasting 
obligations for such kindness, our country should 
not feel less proud of such friends, nor be slow to 
requite such services. 

Having learned that it was in contemplation to 
march our men in irons to Mexico, and that they 
were in preparation to be placed upon them, Colo- 
nel Fisher and myself remonstrated against it in 
the strongest terms. General Ampudia, in answer, 
said that Colonel Canales, the officer who was to 
take charge of them to Monterey, insisted upon hav- 


ing them ironed, and that he would not undertake 
to guard two hundred and twenty Texians with less 
than one thousand Mexicans ; but that he had over- 
ruled the order for ironing them as violative of his 
articles of capitulation. 

January 12th. Early in the morning preparations 
were made for starting, and I applied to General 
Ampudia for permission to take with us our inter- 
preter, Daniel D. Henrie, and my servant, Samuel 
C. Lyon. I will here remark that Lyon was not 
my servant in the ordinary meaning of the word, 
but that we had lived next-door neighbours for six 
years, and I knew I could greatly serve him by 
having him with me. I informed the general that 
such courtesies were common for us to extend to 
Mexican officers when our prisoners, and he gave 
the order for them to accompany us. Colonel 
Fisher, myself, Dr. Shepherd, Adjutant Murry, In- 
terpreter Henrie, and S. C. Lyon, were each fur- 
nished a horse, and placed under charge of Lieu- 
tenant-colonel Savriego, who had under his com- 
mand about forty cavalry. In the morning previ- 
ous, not expecting the privilege of seeing our men, 
I addressed them the following note, in which Col- 
onel Fisher joined me : 

" Fellow Prisoners, 
" It has fallen to our lot to become the captives 
of the nation with which we are at war. This is 
the fortune of that policy ; and though our condition 


is incident to these privations, let us bear up under 
them with the fortitude of men. Let us nerve our 
souls in that impregnable armour which lightens the 
weary limb, and which the steel of our enemy can- 
not penetrate. That immortal spirit will make us 
superior to our condition, and triumph over our mis- 
fortunes. Recollect that the best nations of the 
world have battled with each other, and the best 
men have been in like condition with ourselves. 
Indulge, therefore, all reasonable hope in the mag- 
nanimity of our enemy, and in that justice which is 
the all-pervading providence of God. 

" To-day, countrymen, it is the pleasure of our 
captors that we should be parted, and sent on in ad- 
vance to the capital. A long and weary journey 
lies before us. The gloom of the prison and the 
fatigues of this thousand miles of space we embrace 
as pleasures in comparison to this cruel separation 
with you, who have so nobly battled for your coun- 
try and shared every danger. 

" The short time we have been permitted to re- 
main at this place precludes the possibility of get- 
ting any assistance from our countrymen at home, 
therefore our means of pecuniary benefit to you are 
small indeed; but please accept with the warmest 
feelings of our hearts the small amount sent by Ad- 
jutant Murry for the assistance of the more unfor- 
tunate who may be sick on the road. 

"Now, dear friends and neighbours, let us part, 
but with that hope which stimulates man to look 


beyond the present, and which, with God's pleas- 
use, will one day unite us again at our homes." 

Just before starting, General Ampudia intimated 
to Colonel Fisher and myself that he was informed 
some of our men contemplated a charge upon their 
guards, and that we must go by the prison and in- 
form them of the consequences to ourselves, should 
such be the case ; that we would be held as host- 
ages for their good conduct, and treated according- 
ly. Colonel Fisher desired Captain Cameron " to 
use his own judgment in the matter," if such was 
in contemplation. I implored the men, " as they 
regarded my friendship, their own condition, and 
the honour of the country, to let no opportunity 
slip in overpowering their guards and getting home, 
and to do so regardless of any consequences to my- 
self." The men all testified by their burning tears 
that my advice should not be lost upon them. 

We were escorted, rather than guarded, by Col- 
onel Savriego and his troop to Monterey, a distance 
of two hundred and seventy-five English miles. We 
reached Monterey on the 22d of January, and were 
furnished quarters at the hospitable mansion of old 
Colonel Bermudez, the mayor de la plaza. The 
day before reaching Monterey we arrived at the 
beautiful town of Caidereta, containing a popula- 
tion of about ten thousand souls. Here, for the 
first time since we were under the charge of Colo- 
nel Savriego, we were treated badly. Great prep- 



aration had been made to exhibit us, which Colo- 
nel S. refused to permit, and at night we were nei- 
ther furnished bedding by the alcalde, nor permitted 
to hire the use of any with our own money. We 
understood this treatment was induced by Colonel 
Can ales, who had written on to this place much to 
our disparagement. The following letter, which I 
wrote to General Ampudia, will fully explain not 
only his treacherous character, but the small cun- 
ning of one who has generally profited by such 

" Monterey, January 23d, 1843. 
" To General Pedro D' Ampudia, ) 
of the Mexican Army : ) 

" Sir, — Having safely arrived thus far on our way 
to the capital, we desire to express to you our sin- 
cere thanks for the generous courtesies which, main- 
ly through your kindness, we have met upon the 
road.* At Caidereta only have we been treated in 
a different manner, and this, we understand, has been 
induced by Colonel Canales. Of that treatment we 
do not complain ; but when the colonel makes him- 
self the hero of mier, we feel much humiliation in 

* What the writer has said of General Ampudia in his Journal, both 
candour and justice required ; and while it gave him pleasure to speak 
that in his praise which he, in truth, could say of few other officers in 
Mexico, it has since been a matter of regret that General A.'s conduct 
towards the ill-starred General Sentmanat is infamous in the extreme. 
The capture and murder of that unfortunate " Federalist" should have 
satiated the vengeance of a despot, but the subsequent boiling of his 
head in oil was a vindictive refinement in cannibalism disgraceful in the 
vilest savage. 


the imputation that we surrendered to him. We 
scorn such a reflection, for that gentleman had an 
opportunity at Guerrero, with three hundred troops, 
to meet fifty of us, and declined it. Colonel Fisher 
and officers join me in the hope that General Am- 
pudia entertains a better opinion of their gallantry 
than to believe that such a thing could be possible 
to surrender to him who once deceived Texians. 

" We farther desire to tender, through you, to Col- 
onel Savriego, officers, and troop, who have thus far 
accompanied us, our heartfelt thanks for their sol- 
dier-like conduct and many kindnesses. 

" With sentiments of the highest consideration 
and esteem, I am your obedient servant, 

" Thomas J. Green." 

From having heard Colonel Savriego's name as- 
sociated with some marauding expedition upon our 
frontier some years back, we had wholly miscon- 
ceived his character. We had supposed him to be 
some rough bandit, who dealt in robbery and mur- 
der from habit or choice. Justice both to him and 
ourselves requires us to say that we have not met 
in Mexico a more intelligent, humane, and accom- 
plished officer. The following note to him will 
give the reader a more correct knowledge of our 
estimation of his worth : 

' ; Monterey, January 23d, 1843. 
" To Colonel Savriego, Mexican Army. 

" Sir, — Being about to separate from you on our 
progress to the capital, injustice both to yourself and 


our own feelings, we cannot do so without express- 
ing our warmest gratitude for your kindness to us as 
prisoners of war, while under your charge from 

;i Your lofty and gallant bearing in the battle-field 
was a sure guarantee of what we have since real- 
ized in your magnanimous generosity, for such is 
the peculiar characteristic of the truly brave. 

" When, sir, we met in the strife of battle, we 
did so as political enemies, each doing his duty for 
his country, since which, though it has been the for- 
tune of war for us to be prisoners, it has been your 
better fortune to lighten our situation by the kindest 
personal considerations. We hope, therefore, that 
many years of happiness may be yours, and that 
good fortune may again unite us where our friend- 
ship may be reciprocated." 

We remained six days at Monterey, which is a 
beautiful city, containing a population of about twen- 
ty thousand, situated high up on the Rio San Fer- 
nando, and between two elevated mountains. It is 
the capital of New Leon, over which Governor- 
general Ortega presided. At this city we were 
treated w T ith every kindness which our situation 
would allow. Our table was supplied from the best 
French restaurant in the city ; and our kind host, old 
Colonel Bermudez, was all the time apologizing for 
not having things good enough for us. 

We call Colonel B. old, as the highest encomium 


we can bestow upon him ; for, with one exception, 
and that one Colonel Terns, of the 4th regiment 
of infantry, we never met an old officer in Mexico 
who did not possess the highest sense of magnanim- 
ity and humanity. Colonel Bermudez is about six- 
ty-five years of age, has seen much service, and is a 
gentleman of the old school model, of which I have 
a far better opinion than of the new. He has an 
interesting family, and several beautiful daughters. 
These amiable ladies, to beguile our heavy hours, 
would sing, and play upon the guitar and piano for 
us, and at evenings would invite the elite of the 
city, some of whom doubtless came to see us Tex- 
ians, whom they would introduce as " inuy valiente" 
very brave. At these evening coteries we would 
endeavour to appear as if nothing had happened to 
us, and join in the dance as lightsome as any. The 
ladies would say, " What wonderful people you 
must be ! Here you are, prisoners in a foreign land, 
having already passed many dangers, and you must 
expect to fall into hands who will treat you unkind- 
ly — for all Mexicans are not what they should be — 
and still you appear as if nothing had befallen you/' 
How delightful it is to witness the salutations of 
Mexican female friends ! they trip across the room 
to meet each other with a gait superior to our wom- 
en, and instead of grasping the hand, they embrace 
with a bewitching, gossamer, ethereal touch, which 
cannot properly be described. In their balldress 
they look like winged creatures, and the moscheto 


hawk, in stooping after its tiny prey, does not ap- 
pear more lightsome than they when swinging 
through their delightful dances. 

Most of the Mexican dances are exceedingly 
beautiful ; there is a luxury in the music, and a 
fascinating swing in their women peculiarly winning. 
Nothing can exceed the grace of their quadrilles and 
contra-dances. Their waltzes and gallopades are 
too much of a good thing for my unsophisticated 
taste. Among their other dances, they have one 
called the zopilote, or turkey-buzzard dance. This 
is performed somewhat after the manner of the bull- 
dance in old Virginia, a dance well known to the 
young men of that good old state at the conclu- 
sion of their balls, after the retirement of the ladies. 
Their fandango is a lively operation, mostly danced 
by the more common people, in which the gentle- 
man leads his partner to the centre of the room ; 
here they move face to face, the gentleman beating 
his feet against the floor in admirable time to the mu- 
sic, while the lady faces him in a regular monotonous 
hitch-up and back-down step, as uniform as the os- 
cillation of a pendulum. Thus it is kept up until 
each party is relieved by some other groups. 

As the lady is thus relieved, her caballero, in com- 
pliment to her performance, serves her with either 
coffee, chocolate, or aquardiente and a cigarrito ; 
the latter she invariably takes between the middle 
and forefinger, and occasionally indulges with infi- 
nite grace the luxury of inhaling its delicious aroma. 


Unlike the prodigal Virginian, who puffs it out upon 
the high pressure principle, after keeping the smoke 
some time in her mouth, she suffers it to escape 
from her nasal organ with such quiet gentleness as 
to allow of the full enjoyment of its odour, while its 
fumes settle under the olfactories of her beau, giving 
him a second benefit of the well-nursed incense. 

To one like myself, who had never smoked a 
cigar, this fumigation was made sufferable through 
the channel whence it came ; but my politeness had 
been put to a severer test. 

On one occasion, the fair senorita with whom I 
danced, seeing that I did not smoke, took from her 
reticule a cigarrito, lighted it with the one she was 
smoking by first placing the new one in her own 
rosy lips, and then offered it to me. Dreading the 
consequences, I commenced an apology, when my 
interpreter suddenly checked me by saying that it 
would be an insult to the lady not to smoke it. I 
received it with what good grace I could, although 
with something of a martyr spirit, w T ell knowing the 
inevitable result. I resolved, however, to assume 
the best disguise I might ; so I crossed my legs, and 
gently half closing my left eye, looked up to the 
ceiling with the little burning abhorrence sticking in 
my lips as if I was an old hand at the business. 1 
was getting on with great proficiency, and had let 
off some half dozen tremendous puffs, when, reflect- 
ing upon the vulgarity of this tar-kiln operation, I 
attempted to squeeze it out through my nose. This 


required experience ; for, instead of giving it vent 
through that channel, I forced it down both into my 
lungs and stomach, thus creating deadly nausea, 
which caused me to break for the door like a quar- 
ter-horse to relieve my distress. The ready wit of 
my interpreter rendered my desponding speech into 
a compliment ; but when I suddenly left my seat for 
the door to relieve my sickness, and he explained 
that, in compliment to her beauty, it was the first I 
had ever smoked, she was greatly flattered, at what 
made me the more inveterate against a nationality 
so disagreeable. 

In objecting to this national custom among the 
ladies, a very intelligent Mexican gentleman said, 
" It may, senor, appear very obnoxious to your na- 
tion, but the force of habit makes it look well to us. 
The men of your nation masticate tobacco ; the 
Turks and Chinese chew opium ; and these, to us, 
appear to be a very filthy practice ; and in the court 
circles of England and France, the most refined na- 
tions upon the earth, the ladies use morphine for the 
same purpose, while in a portion of your happy coun- 
try your own women mop with snufT. Thus, what 
the English and French ladies abuse in the Turks 
and Chinese, the refinements of fashion and taste 
furnish them in a different shape ; and what your 
women abuse in ours for its public use, they take 
by stealth, and in a still more displeasing manner. 
It is all, senor, for the purpose of creating artificial 
excitement : and while I say that you object to our 


ladies smoking, we believe the most filthy of all 
practices is that of your ' snuff-dippers! ' He con- 
tinued : " On one occasion, senor, I was in the habit 
of visiting a lady in your country, whose time of life 
was verging upon the ' sear and yellow leaf.' She 
was in the neighbourhood of that unwelcome thirty- 
three, which concentrates to the eye-corners those 
hateful crow-feet, which from that time is so sure to 
ride the countenance to the grave. In the morning 
this lady showed all the languor of previous excess, 
and she was as uninteresting until she spent an hour 
with her snuff-mop as if she had just awaked from 
the excessive use of ardent spirits. I once, by acci- 
dent, saw her mopping — and such a mouth ! I never 
after that time thought of her, but what I saw. Oh ! 
that horrid mouth, in all its licentious indulgence ; 
teeth, tongue, and gums were filled with this cruel- 
looking lava, which had overrun the crater, and 
formed a sable periphery of most frightful extent. 
Ah me, I thought, how happy are our men, that we 
are not compelled to kiss such mouths ! Do tell me, 
is it the mop which makes all your young ladies so 
entertaining? and believe me, senor, I love one of 
your pretty girls, but at every thought of the mop 
and her horrid dirty mouth I am taken aback." I 
assured the gentleman that this practice was con- 
fined to but few in our country, and I believed that 
every decent gentleman, both in Texas and the 
United States, looked upon it as far more odious 
than smoking. " I thank you, senor, for that fact," 



says he, " for my sweetheart is in Philadelphia ; I 
hope soon to visit her, and you now make me the 
more anxious to do so." 

I confess I was fairly beaten by this intelligent 
gentleman ; but while he found in me no apologist 
for the " snuff-dippers" and snuff-eaters of my own 
country, he failed to convince me that it was right 
for a pretty girl to smoke. Though I have ever 
been opposed to matrimonial divorces as most de- 
structive to the happiest state of society, yet, if I 
were a judge or legislator, and the abused hus- 
band was to set forth in his petition that his better 
half smoked and mopped, if I could not upon prin- 
ciples of law entertain his application, I would sym- 
pathize in his wrongs. 

The third day after our arrival in the city of Mon- 
terey, Governor Ortega desired to see Colonel Fish- 
er and myself at his quarters, he having been sick 
and confined to his house. He received us very 
courteously, and expressed his desire that we should 
be supplied with every comfort. Before leaving 
Monterey, we addressed the following notes to the 
governor and our good host Colonel Bermudez : 

" Monterey, January 27th, 1843. 
" To his Excellency General Ortega. 

Sir, — Before leaving New Leon, over which your 
excellency presides with honour to the state and 
such happy benefits to the people, permit us to ex- 
press our warmest gratitude for the kind reception 
and friendly entertainment you have extended to us. 


" To be prisoners of war in a foreign land, far from 
our country, our homes, and our families, is melan- 
choly enough ; but that we have become so in doing 
the bidding of our own country is a consolation be- 
yond all price. That you have lightened these mel- 
ancholy reflections by the kindest considerations is 
still more honourable both to your heart and head; 
and rest assured, sir, that that great moral principle 
which now governs the civilized world is more om- 
nipotent in its happy influence upon mankind than 
the most destructive engines of war. 

" Allow us to hope that many years of happiness 
may be yours, and that you may long continue in 
the full enjoyment of deserved political and indi- 
vidual prosperity." 

"Monterey, January 27th, 1843. 
" To Colonel Bermudez, Mexican Army. 

" Sir, — Since it has been our good fortune to be 
placed under your charge, such has been the kind- 
ness of your treatment, we beg you to allow us the 
present privilege of reciprocating that kindness so 
far as this humble testimonial of our hearts' offering 
can do. 

" Your magnanimity of heart, as well as experi- 
ence in the world, rightly estimates the situation 
and feelings of the brave, who, through the fortune 
of war, become prisoners in a foreign land. Such 
has been our fortune. In duty to our own, we en- 
tered your country as political enemies, and manfully 
performed that duty. Your conduct, and that of 


other Mexican officers, governed by the highest 
principles of moral bravery, does more in winning 
our admiration and affections, and in bringing about 
a right understanding between our respective na- 
tions, than the carnage of a thousand battles. 

" In leaving your hospitable roof on our progress 
to the capital, we beg to tender you and your ami- 
able family our warmest gratitude, with our hearts' 
best wishes that you may continue to enjoy many 
years of felicity in the exercise of that domestic 
happiness, of which, dear sir, you are so pre-eminent 
an example." 


March for Saltillo. — Our Treatment. — Meet Captain Fitzgerald, Van 
Ness, and others in Prison. — Their Condition. — Arrival of Colonel 
Barragan with our Prisoners. — We march for San Luis Potosi. — Arri- 
val at Salado. — Our Men arrive at Aqua Nuevo. — Captain Dimmit. — 
His Death. — Barragan arrives with our Men at Salado. — Concerted 
Attack upon the Guards. — The Charge and Victory at Salado. — Order 
to shoot us. — Narrow Escape. — Arrival at Cidral. — Narrow Escape 
from the Populace. — Narrow Escape from our new Guards. — Arrival 
at Mataguala. — Treatment there. — Report of the Battle of Salado. 

January 28th. We left Monterey under charge 
of Captain Ugartechia and a troop of cavalry for 
Saltillo, a city containing about fifteen thousand 
inhabitants, and seventy-five English miles distant, 
where we arrived on the 30th. Both here and at 
Monterey we were treated kindly by several Euro- 


peans who visited us in our prison. Upon our 
arrival at Saltillo, we were first quartered at a mis- 
erable, filthy cavalry barracks, against which we 
protested in the strongest terms, when we were 
moved to an infantry quartel not much better. At 
this quartel we found Captain Archibald Fitzgerald, 
Mr. George Van Ness, Thomas Hancock, Norman 
Woods, Miblem Harrell, and John Higgerson: the 
three former were taken at San Antonio on the 
11th of September previous, and detained at San 
Fernando as Santa Fe prisoners, by order of the 
government, to be shot ; but, through the interces- 
sion of General Woll, were pardoned, and sent on 
with the three latter, who were badly wounded at 
Captain Dawson's defeat on the 18th of September. 
We found these men, and particularly Woods, in a 
bad condition, but by giving him warm clothes and 
good nursing he rapidly recovered. He must have 
died very soon without such assistance. Upon ap- 
plication to the governor, Van Ness was permitted 
to accompany our party as interpreter, and the other 
five turned in with our men, who arrived here on 
the 5th of February under charge of Colonel Bar- 

Captain Fitzgerald, Van Ness, and Hancock in- 
formed us that, while they were detained as Santa Fe 
prisoners at San Fernando, by order of the govern- 
ment, to be shot, the first news which they received 
of General Somerville's movements was from Henry 
Clay Davis, late of Kentucky, and a man by the 


name of M'Beth, who were put in the same prison 
with them. These two men had taken leave of us 
at Laredo, to return, as they said, to San Antonio, 
but instead of which deserted to the Mexican army 
at San Fernando, 140 miles north, carrying the 
Mexican commander letters from the alcalde of La- 
redo, and giving information of the Texian move- 
ments. General Reyes, the Mexican commander 
at that place, always doubting of treachery, incar- 
cerated these renegades in the same prison with 
the above-named gentlemen, where they were kept 
eleven days, until he was assured of their fidelity 
by again hearing from the alcalde of Laredo and Col- 
onel Bravo, the Mexican commandant at that place. 
Upon this information General Reyes released them, 
and gave Davis a ball, at which his health was 
drank as one who had seen the error of his ways 
by deserting the " Texian adventurers" and giving 
in his allegiance to the " magnanimous" Mexican 
nation. We have alluded to this circumstance as 
the first and last instance in our whole revolution 
where an American, born and raised in the United 
States, ever deserted our standard to join that of 
our Mexican enemy, and it should be a warning 
to others against a too intimate Mexican associa- 
tion ; for, as ministers plenipotentiary are subject 
to be Mexicanized, so are humbler individuals. 
These young men had lived some time in San 
Antonio, and had acquired much of Mexican habit, 
with a consequent corresponding sympathy which 
outbalanced their Texian patriotism. 


I have remarked that whenever a citizen of 
the United States resides long enough in Mexico to 
discard his suspenders, and tie up his pantaloons 
with a red band around the waist, cover his shoul- 
ders with a blanket, and eat a gill of red pepper at 
a meal — beware of him ! he will both lie and steal ; 
and while his new ethics teach him to filch from his 
neighbour's pocket, they would cause him, for a Ju- 
das reward, to sell the country which gave him life. 

Our men, under charge of Colonel Canales, with 
six hundred infantry and cavalry guards, and one 
piece of artillery, took up the line of march from 
Matamoras on the 14th January, two days after our 
party had left that place. They proceeded to the 
pass Sacarte, upon the Rio St. Juan, without any 
incident worth noting. At this place a plan of 
charging the guards had been perfected, but, through 
some misunderstanding of Captain Cameron's order, 
it was not carried out. It was then determined to 
wait until they reached farther into the mountains. 
They arrived at Monterey on the 29th, one day 
after the departure of our party, and remained here 
until the 2d of February, when, under charge of 
Colonel Barragan and about two hundred and fifty 
guards, they marched for Saltillo. February 2d, 
camped at St. Catharine, twelve miles, and on the 
3d at the Rinconada, twenty-four miles. Here they 
intended an attack upon the guards, and a more fa- 
vourable place could not have been selected, but the 
increased vigilance of those in charge of them pre- 


yented it, and they supposed some " Judas" had be- 
trayed their design to the commander. On the 5th 
they arrived at Saltillo, and were quartered at a dif- 
ferent barracks from us. Colonel Barragan permit- 
ted several of our men to visit us in his company. 

February 6th. Captain Ugartechia took up the 
line of march for San Luis Potosi with our party, 
and on the 7th Colonel Barragan followed with the 
main body of our men. Here Colonel B. increased 
his guards with a company of infantry known as 
the "Red Caps." Our march was interrupted with 
no more than the ordinary " incidents of travel" un- 
til we reached the hacienda Salado, forty leagues' 
distant. This road was over a barren country, very 
destitute of vegetation, and supplied from deep wells 
of brackish water, drawn up by mules working a 
very simply-contrived drum, with buckets attached 
to a broad leathern strap or hair ropes. This place 
we reached on the 9th, when Captain Ugartechia 
complaining much of his head and the want of 
sleep, Dr. Shepherd gave him some morphine. This 
had a singular effect upon him. He curled himself 
up in a corner of the room, would not speak above 
a whisper, concluded he must die, and sent an ex- 
press back to Saltillo for his sister and another phy- 
sician. In this situation he lay until the arrival of 
our men on the evening of the 10th, when we were 
turned over to Captain Romano ; the main body of 
our men, under Colonel Barragan, having marched 
from Saltillo on the 7th, one day after our party 


arrived at the hacienda Aqua Nuevo (New Water), 
being twenty-four miles, the first day. This was 
another favourable place to charge their guards, and 
it was in contemplation ; but from the soreness of 
the men's feet and other causes, it was again de- 

This place is also worthy of note, from the fact 
that here our lamented countryman, Captain Philip 
Dimmit, poisoned himself, having determined so to 
act rather than die by the hands of his enemies. 
Captain Dimmit's name is too intimately connected 
with Goliad and our first effort at independence to 
be passed over with indifference. We knew him 
long and intimately as a brave man and a devoted 
patriot. When he was villanously abducted from 
his home, through the perfidious treachery of his 
own countrymen, the Mexicans knew the value of 
their prize too well to treat him slightly. Poor 
Dimmit knew full well that the " Goliad Declaration 
of Independence' would seal his fate. He and his 
few companions, with a heroism worthy the occa- 
sion, charged their guards, and, after three had fallen 
by his own hands, yielded to the superiority of 
numbers. His last act of defiance, after invoking 
his country's justice upon his betrayers and murder- 
ers in a strain of rare eloquence, was to die as he 
had lived, shouting for his country and liberty ! 

February 10th. Colonel Barragan arrived at the 
hacienda Salado with our men, where he found 
Captain Ugartechia sick, with our party. We had 



been quartered in a room opening upon a small 
courtyard, in which our guards were stationed. 
This courtyard adjoined a larger one on the south, 
from which it was separated by a dividing wall of 
about fifteen feet high, and in the latter our men 
were quartered. These quarters had no communi- 
cation with ours except by the outer gates. Some 
few of our men obtained permission to accompany 
Colonel Barragan to visit us. Of these were Cap- 
tain Ryan, Dr. Brennem, Captain Fitzgerald, Mr. 
Maxwell, and Edwards. Our men were highly 
elated at coming up with us ; and the prospect of 
our uniting with them in an attempt to go home at 
once started the question anew of charging their 
guards. The men who visited us were requested 
to ascertain our opinions as to its practicability, &c. 
Colonel Fisher was opposed to the charge, but sent 
word to Captain Cameron " to use his ow?i good 
sense in the matter." I was in favour of it, as I had 
uniformly been, and my plan of attack was freely 
communicated to Captains Ryan and Fitzgerald, 
and Dr. Brennem. They informed me that their 
plan was to charge at midnight. I opposed this 
hour, as being unpropitious for securing the horses 
of the cavalry, as they would most probably be out 
grazing, and recommended sunrise, at which time 
the horses would be herded. Captain Reese was 
opposed to the "break," as he informed me, because 
he thought we had advanced too far into the country. 
I told him I thought there would be no danger ; that 


we should be strong enough to keep the road, and 
beat all the opposing force above Guerrero ; that 
Fitzgerald and Van Ness had informed me the 
troops from San Fernando had been moved down 
to that point before they left the former place ; that 
a few days rapid move on the main road would en- 
sure success. 

Our usual time of starting in the morning was 
half an hour after sunrise, and so soon as the main 
body of our men had succeeded in driving their 
guards, Captain Fitzgerald was to lead a party 
around the buildings, force our gate, and assist us, 
if necessary, against our guards. Captain Romano, 
contrary to our former custom, had started us about 
eight or ten minutes previous to sunrise. In this 
time we had proceeded about three fourths of a 
mile, when the sun made its appearance over the 
mountains. I was riding by the side of my old 
sailing-master, Lyon, and remarked, upon seeing 
the sun, that " if our boys were going to do any- 
thing, now was the time." I had barely made the 
remark when I heard the first gun. I knew what 
it meant, and exclaimed, " We have them /" The 
second, third, and fourth guns were fired before 
Captain Romano noticed it. He halted us, and 
sent his lieutenant, Aredondo, back to see what 
was the matter. Aredondo galloped back a few 
hundred yards, returned in great haste, and report- 
ed that the Texians had charged Colonel Barragan, 
and his troops were flying in every direction. This, 


however, we could plainly see : men, women, and 
children, infantry and cavalry, were scampering in 
every direction, hither and thither, leaving clouds 
of dust behind them. 

Captain Romano ordered us on from the scene of 
action at full gallop, with his cavalry lances at a 
charge on each side of us. After going two or 
three hundred yards, we were halted and made to 
dismount. The firing had now become very brisk, 
and the excitement in our party intense : each had 
his speculations as to the result. I believed from 
the first that our men would prevail, with a loss not 
exceeding ten. Colonel Fisher believed that the at- 
tack was injudicious, and the whole of our men would 
be killed. Most of our party believed with me. At 
length a short pause was discernible in the firing ; 
then it commenced brisker than ever, and in a few 
minutes another pause, which was quickly succeed- 
ed by a loud shout, which we knew to be Texian. 
This shout for the moment quieted our excitement, 
but it was to be quickly succeeded by one of more 
interest to us. At this time a lieutenant came up 
at full speed, with orders from Colonel Barragan to 
Captain Romano to shoot us and come immediate- 
ly to his assistance. Both his countenance and 
actions showed determination to execute the order. 
He ordered his men to reprime their escopetas and 
make ready, which was instantly done. This was 
a critical moment, and it was necessary to be met 
with coolness and promptness upon our part. Col- 


onel Fisher and myself asked him " if he was most 
bound to obey the orders of Governor Ortega, to 
take us to Mexico, or any subsequent order of Col- 
onel Barragan;" and that we expected "we were 
in the hands of a gentleman and a soldier, not a 
murderer." His eyes were instantly lowered to the 
pommel of his saddle, and his countenance under- 
went hesitation, change, and satisfaction in as many 
seconds, when he raised himself in his stirrups, and, 
proudly clapping his hand upon his bosom, ordered 
the interpreter to say to the gentlemen " that they 
are in the hands of a gentleman and a soldier, and 
that / will carry out Governor Ortega's orders." 
Thus saying, our horses' heads were wheeled to- 
wards Mexico, and we forced on, at full speed, by 
the lancers on each side of us. 

Our course was for many miles through a broad, 
level plain, with high mountains on each hand. 
Every dust rising in our rear — and we could see 
many miles upon our back road — made us be- 
lieve that our lamented friend, Captain Fitzgerald, 
with a party of our men, were in pursuit to rescue 
us. This Captain F. had promised to do the pre- 
vious night, in the event of our leaving before the 
attack ; and the hope of which caused us to desire 
a slower pace, while the fear of it impelled Captain 
Romano forward. At this gait we were hurried 
twenty leagues to the town of Cidral, only stopping 
once for water. 

We arrived at Cidral, which is a mining town, 


containing about six thousand inhabitants, at four 
o'clock in the evening ; and, notwithstanding the 
rapid gait we had travelled, the news from Salado 
preceded us. Most of the citizens we found in the 
street and public square, where we were halted sev- 
eral minutes. Here this dirty population heaped 
upon us their rich vocabulary of epithets : a favour- 
ite one was to call us " Jews ;" for this ignorant pop- 
ulation believe that every nation of white people 
who do not speak their language, and are not of 
their religion, had some immediate agency in killing 
their beloved Saviour. The only compassion we 
met was in the countenances of the females. In 
my intercourse with the world, I have had frequent 
occasion to observe that women were better than 
men ; in Mexico this observation is forced upon you 
at every village. 

To free us from the annoyance of the populace^ 
Captain Romano ordered us to dismount and go 
into a room, around which he placed his cavalry to 
keep off the crowd. Here we remained for an hour, 
and were refreshed with some crackers, cheese, and 
a bottle of vino mascaL a common brandy made of 
the maguey plant, Agave Americana. Here Captain 
Romano determined to return to Salado, to assist, if 
possible, Colonel Barragan, and our party were turn- 
ed over to the alcalde, to be sent immediately on 
to Mataguala, a city of fifteen thousand inhabitants, 
still three leagues farther ahead, as the town of 
Cidral would not be sufficient protection in case our 


men were to pursue us. We were hurried off under 
a guard of about thirty men, who were the most 
perfect savages we ever met before or since. 

It was now night, with a fair moonlight, and from 
every demonstration these rascals intended to assas- 
sinate us before we reached Mataguala. On one 
occasion several of them cocked their guns, under 
pretence of shooting Sailing-master Lyon for not 
keeping in line, but were prevented by the interpret- 
er saying that he was a sailor, and not used to ri- 
ding. On another occasion they were in the act 
of thrusting their lances through Interpreter Henrie, 
when I caught his horse by the bridle and drew him 
up to my side. In this situation, Captain Romano 
and our old troop came up at full speed and relieved 
us. Captain R., learning the intention of these fel- 
lows after they had left Cidral, changed his deter- 
mination of returning to Salado, and came to our 
rescue. Interpreter Henrie, knowing more of the 
language and intentions of these fellows, informed 
me that we were to be shot, and said that he wished 
to die as gloriously as possible, and therefore bor- 
rowed from the horn of my saddle a flask of vino 
mascal, into which he looked so long and deep that 
he had but little power of vision left, and would oc- 
casionally ride up against the guards. In this situ- 
ation, they were about to spear him, when the timely 
arrival of Captain Romano prevented it. In coming 
up, our old guard, who, from two weeks' travel and 
intercourse with, had formed a warm attachment for 


us, congratulated us upon our escape from these 

We arrived at Mataguala at nine o'clock at night, 
and found the whole population abroad to see us. 
We were hurried through the crowd, and quartered 
at a meson, tavern. Next morning old Colonel D. 
Matias d'Aquirre came to see us : this old veteran 
treated us with great kindness, ordered us to be re- 
moved to better quarters, and placed under special 
charge of a humane gentleman and an accomplished 
scholar, a lawyer by profession, D. Manuel Fernan- 
dez Palos. During our three days' stay in this city, 
we were furnished from the table of this gentleman 
with every luxury the city could afford. 

We were here visited by all persons of distinction, 
among the rest the priest, a gentleman of superior 
intelligence and liberal feelings, who afterward sent 
us several rich viands from his table ; also the Baron 
De Kawinsky, one of the travelling scientific corps 
of the Emperor of Russia, a gentleman of extensive 
acquirements, who has been for several years ex- 
ploring the northern states of Mexico. This excel- 
lent old gentleman expressed for us the kind feelings 
of a father, and upon parting, insisted upon our taking 
some of his excellent tea, which we highly enjoyed 
during our trip to Mexico. Upon taking leave o.f 
him, we placed in his hands the following note. 

"Mataguala, Feb. 14th, 1843. 
" To the Baron De Kawinsky, of Russia. 

" Sir, — As prisoners of war to the government of 


Mexico, we beg to tender our warmest thanks for 
the kindness which you have manifested towards us 
during our short acquaintance. 

" In prosecuting your scientific researches, should 
you find it convenient to visit our young republic, 
you will doubtless find many objects worthy of your 
notice, and the gentlemen of our country will be hap- 
py to extend to you the kind feelings of your hum- 
ble servants." 

On our first arrival at Mataguala, Captain Ro- 
mano and troop went back to see what had become 
of Colonel Barragan, and we were turned over to 
the authorities of the place. On the third day after 
he returned with the intelligence that our men had 
defeated Barragan, dispersed his troops, took his 
horses, arms, munitions of war, and money, and 
made their way homeward. 

In leaving Mataguala on February 15th, which 
we did under the escort of the first gentlemen of the 
place, we addressed Colonel Aquirre and Don Palos 
the following note: 

" Mataguala, Feb. 14th, 1843. 

" To Don Matias Martin D'Aquirre and Don > 
Manuel Fernandez Palos and others. J 

" Gentlemen, — Before our departure from your 
city, we beg to express to yourselves particularly, 
and, through you, to the officers and citizens who 
have had us in charge, our heartfelt gratitude for the 
many kindnesses extended us during the few days 
we have remained here. 



" To conquer in the field of battle depends much 
upon the chances of war; to temper that victory with 
generosity and humanity requires the exercise of 
those high moral qualities which constitute man su- 
perior to all other creatures. You, sirs, have given 
us a bright example of that superiority. 

" It has been our fortune to enter your country, in 
solemn duty to the requirements of our own, as po- 
litical enemies ; we fought you as men, and since, 
through the chances of war, we have become your 
captives, we submit with the philosophy of men. 

" Please, gentlemen, accept the highest consid- 
erations and esteem of your very obedient servants." 

The good old colonel, to make the time of our 
party the lighter — for, says he, "I have three times 
been a prisoner"— sent us a bundle of English books 
from his hacienda, which met us on the road. To 
fall into the hands of such an officer is to rob war 
of its most rugged features ; and if the young officers 
of the Mexican nation had half the sensibility, mag- 
nanimity, and humanity of the old ones, this war 
might have been conducted with the most high-toned 
spirit of chivalry ; whereas, their repeated acts of 
perfidy, treachery, and brutality must force us to re- 
taliate, as the only recource of justice and safety. 

We return to the 11th of February, 1843, with a 
national pride which no other circumstance of our 
Revolution can inspire ; and it should be an ever- 
memorable day in the history of Texian liberty, 


alike honourable to the country for the spirit in 
which that glorious movement was planned and 
executed. As our men advanced farther into the 
country, the more oppressive became the conduct 
of those under whose charge they were. On sun- 
dry occasions, the Mexican soldiers had been per- 
mitted to beat several of them : this was in such 
gross violation of our articles of capitulation, and 
afforded such a precious foretaste of" Mexican mag- 
nanimity'' that they determined not to let slip this 
last opportunity of regaining their liberty ; and the 
prospect of having their officers with them in the 
glorious enterprise determined the blow. Among the 
privates foremost in the charge, as well as in bring- 
ing about the result — and to their lasting honour 
we record their names — were Dr. R. F. Brennem, 
S. H. Walker, J. D. Cooke, Colonel William F. 
Wilson, Patrick Lyons, and others. The officers 
were generally in favour of the attempt; and at the 
appointed time, the lamented Cameron, with a 
quiet coolness peculiar to him in trying emergen- 
cies, raised his hat, and giving it a gentle flourish 
in the air, said, in a distinct tone, a little mixed 
with his Highland brogue, "Well, hoys, we will go 
it!" Thus saying, and suiting the action to the 
word, he grappled one of the sentinels at the inner 
door of their prison-yard, while S. H. Walker seiz- 
ed the other. It was the work of an instant to up- 
set and disarm these, and get possession of the outer 
court, where the arms and cartridge boxes were 


guarded by one hundred and fifty infantry. These 
men were quickly driven out or made to surrender; 
and while our men were arming themselves and se- 
curing ammunition, the cavalry had formed in front 
of the outer gate, which was also guarded by the 
company of " Red Caps." In charging through this 
gate to drive this company and the cavalry, poor 
Doctor Brennem and Patrick Lyons fell, and sev- 
eral others were wounded. That portion of the 
cavalry which was mounted quickly fell back be- 
yond the reach of our fire, while the "Red Caps" re- 
treated round the main wall of the buildings to the 
south, through the gate into the courtyard which 
our party had just before left. A portion of our 
men pressed around to force this gate, believing still 
that we were in our quarters. Here Captain Fitz- 
gerald received his death-wound, and John Stans- 
bury, quite a boy, had his left eye shot out. The 
company of " Red Caps" soon capitulated, and gave 
up their arms ; the only condition which our men 
required of Colonel Barragan, in releasing them, 
was, that our wounded should be treated kindly. 

We had three killed, Dr. Brennem, Lyon, and 
Rice ; Captain Fitzgerald and John Higgerson 
mortally wounded, and died soon after ; Captain 
J. R. Baker, privates Stansbury, Hancock, Trehern, 
and Harvey, wounded. The enemy's loss was nine 
or ten killed, and many more badly wounded. From 
the difficulty of getting arms in the commencement 
of the action, it was not possible that more than one 


half of our two hundred and fourteen men, with the 
exception of those who fought with brickbats, could 
have been engaged. 

When the main body of our men were marched 
from Matamoras, a negro fellow by the name of 
Sawney, who some years before had absconded 
from Texas, and taken up his abode in that city, 
seeing that it was a good chance for him to specu- 
late off of his old acquaintances, followed them on to 
this place, and on the route swindled all who dealt 
with him for chile, tortillas, frijoles, &c. No soon- 
er, however, did the Texians charge their guards, than 
he exclaimed, " This is no place for Sawney !" and, 
very wisely, did not wait to suit the action to the 
words, for his double-quick time had already prece- 
ded his prudent conclusion ; and well it did, as he 
would have paid dearly for his peculations and in- 
solence had he been taken. 

Thus it was that the Texians gave the world an- 
other evidence of their superiority over the Mexi- 
cans, when one hundred unarmed men charged three 
hundred with arms, beat them, disarmed them, and 
then turned them loose as harmless things. 



Our Men take up the March for Home. — Departure from Plan of Retreat 
by turning into the Mountains. — Unexampled Suffering. — Killing their 
Horses for Food. — Many Die, and others Surrender. — Marched back 
to Saltillo.— March to Salado. — Decimation, and dying Words. — Our 
"Wounded, and those who remained with them. — March from Matagua- 
la. — Arrival at Count Zivyes. — Kind Treatment. — Arrival at San 
Luis Potosi. — Treatment there. — Correspondence with the Governor. 
— Notes to Captains Romano and Reyes. — The Valley of San Luis, 
Mode of drawing Water, &c. 

At 10 o'clock A.M., one hundred and ninety- 
three of our men took up the line of march home- 
ward, leaving eighteen behind, including the wound- 
ed, besides three killed. At 12 o'clock at night 
they reached the hacienda San Salvador, a distance 
of fifty-three miles; bought corn, and fed their hor- 
ses : proceeded twelve miles farther on, and slept 
about two hours before daybreak. The remnant of 
the enemy's cavalry, under Colonel Barragan, which 
had escaped from Salado, kept in sight in the rear, 
but manifested no disposition to come near. 

February 12th. They marched early in the morn- 
ing, leaving the Saltillo road at 10 o'clock A.M., 
and bearing their course to the left for the Zacete- 
car road, which they struck in about ten miles ; 
thence turning to the left for the purpose of obtain- 
ing water at a hacienda then in sight, they found 
the water-tank near the house, which was defended 
by a few regular troops, who hoisted a red flag, and 


commenced a fire upon them at about two hundred 
yards distant. Captain Cameron, having determin- 
ed not to be detained by any engagement which 
could be avoided, filed to the right, receiving no oth- 
er injury except having one horse wounded. He di- 
rected his course northward to a trail which he 
discovered leading over the mountain, which was 
very rough. In descending, found water enough for 
a drink all round, which was truly a God-send, as 
we he had been twenty hours without a drop. In 
six miles came to water at a raneho, where we 
found the men in arms, but did not molest them : 
inquiring the Comargo road, we proceeded on with- 
out any intention of taking it : continued our course 
west, and after descending a mountain into a deep 
valley, at 3 o'clock in the morning laid down to 
rest, and here took a Mexican spy. 

February 13th. Marched early, taking the spy 
with us, course still west ; at eight miles came to 
water, and thence proceeded on ; struck the Mont- 
clova road, leading from Saltillo, about thirty -five 
miles from the latter place. Here we encountered 
a European, a friend of ours, who told our troops 
by all means to keep the road, directing them where 
they would be well received ahead. Had the ad- 
vice of this man been kept, the whole party would 
doubtless have succeeded in reaching their homes ; 
but our men, from sad experience, had been taught 
to believe that treachery was in every mouth in 
Mexico, and the more timid insisted upon leaving 


the road and taking to the mountains. At about 12 
o'clock M. crossed a small creek, and sent Interpreter 
Brennem with our Mexican spy to buy some beef 
and corn from a rancho near by, where the Mexi- 
can was detained and Brennem ordered off, other- 
wise he would be fired upon. Cameron marched 
within a gunshot of the rancho, not molesting any- 
thing, when a woman came out and inquired " if 
any of JordavUs men were along ;" and being told 
" there were," she replied that " if they would vouch 
for the good conduct of the rest, the whole should 
be accommodated at the rancho with whatever they 
wished." They, however, continued their course 
without returning an answer, when very soon after 
the proprietor of the rancho overtook them, and 
expressed regret that he had mistaken their inten- 
tions, and pointed out a good place near the road 
to graze ^nd rest their horses. At sunset again 
they took up the line of march, but left the road at 
8 o'clock to repose, when they were fired on by a 
small party of Mexicans. Proceeding a little farther, 
Captain Cameron was influenced to leave the road 
entirely and take to the mountains, contrary to his 
instructions and his own better judgment, as we 
have before stated, but induced to do so by the 
more timid of the officers and men. 

February 14th. Directed their course through 
the mountains; travelled hard, making little progress, 
the country being too rough for the horses to get 
on, except with slow pace ; found no water, and 

: 'WM^m.j s& 

t >..}!., .1 


■'■■■-■■ l A 



camped for the night in a deep ravine. This day 
they passed a shepherd with a large flock of sheep, 
who informed them that they would find no water 
in the direction they were travelling, which should 
have been a sufficient warning to return to the road. 
February 15th. Some of the men found water 
about one and a half miles from camp. Here they 
determined to kill their fattest horses and mules, 
jerk the meat for food, and take it on foot. The 
saddle flaps were turned into sandals to protect 
their feet from the rocks and thorns. Here was a 
scene of grand moral sublimity : freemen, who for 
the love of country and liberty had voluntarily re- 
duced themselves to the last state of human suffer- 
ance, still cheerful under the bright hope of liberty ; 
and when pressed by nature's extremest wants, put- 
ting their knives into the hearts' blood of their good 
horses with a melancholy regret which showed 
they had no option ! So, having stationed sentinels 
upon the peaks of the highest adjoining mountains, 
they led their horses and asses down into the ra- 
vine, and commenced the mournful task. In doing 
so, no language can describe the feelings of these 
bold men — men who in battle had killed their scores 
of Mexicans without winking — when they stood 
with unsheathed knives beside their faithful animals, 
they found that their bursting hearts had unnerved 
their arms. Many turned from the effort and 
wept, while others, as much affected, performed the 
bloody deed in conscientious duty to their families. 



their country, and liberty. The lamentable groans 
of the poor horses, as the keen steel would press to 
the heart's core, was distressingly painful to hear. 
Some, in the agonies of death, would squeal and 
flounder, while others would seem to look upon 
their masters in deep sorrow, and press against the 
fatal blade. This never-to-be-forgotten scene was 
the work of a portion of this day, as some built 
scaffolds with fire underneath to dry the meat, while 
others butchered, and some went with gourds still 
deeper into the ravine for water. At 3 o'clock P. 
M. the water was so nearly exhausted that the men 
could not fill their gourds, when the march was re- 
commenced. At 10 o'clock P.M. camped in a deep 
ravine without water. 

February 16th. The course of our men still 
north. This day several were left on the road ex- 
hausted for the want of water, and here they com- 
menced, unfortunately, the use of the palmetto juice 
as a substitute. 

February 17th. Marched early in the morning. 
At 12 o'clock M. discovered some Mexican spies 
in a large valley, the course of our men being north- 
ward across it. At 9 o'clock encamped without 
water, a number of our men keeping on, and bear- 
ing more to the eastward in hopes of finding some 

February 18th. No signal from any of the wa- 
ter-hunters : the course still across the valley. Now 
much dissatisfaction prevailed as to the course 


most likely to find water. Most of the men were 
now unable to travel, and halted to rest, when Cap- 
tain Cameron, with about fifty men, continued on a 
short distance, bearing more to the west. They 
also had to stop during the heat of the day. At 
this time his party were also undetermined what 
course to take, as several parties had been left be- 
hind, and sent out in different directions to find wa- 
ter. The main body, as they scattered over the 
valley to screen themselves from the burning sun, 
would spread their blankets upon the thorn-bushes 
and get underneath them. They now would fain 
have drank 

" The stale of horses, and the gilded puddle 
Which beast would cough at :" 

but neither had they : their good horses, too, had 
paid the tribute of their lives. In vain did they 
recollect Mark Antony's sufferings in the Alps, and 
the Arab tales of taking drink from the bowels of 
their faithful camels : it was but to augment their 
own sufferings. In the delirium of consuming fe- 
vers they sought 

" The roughest berry on the rudest hedge." 

Some were chewing and eating negro-head and 
prickly-pear leaves, to produce moisture in their 
mouths, but these astringents greatly aggravated 
their sufferings ; while others, with tongues so 
parched and swollen that they could not close their 
mouths, were scratching in the shade of bushes for 
cool earth to apply to their throats and stomachs ; 


yet, ,even yet, their sufferings were to be increased. 
Wild delirium seized upon those who had most 
freely used the astringent plants, and in their last 
agony they had recourse to their own urinary se- 
cretion. This was drinking living fire ! and this 
they knew, for many were men of education ; but 
still they drank and drank ! Several expired, and 
all prayed for death to relieve them. To all who 
may chance to see these pages, and hereafter be in 
a similar situation, either by land or sea, recollect 
these facts, that it is far better to die without this 
last recourse, for the phosphate of lime contained 
in this liquid produces a consuming agony far worse 
than death without it. 

At 1 o'clock P.M. discovered a large smoke to 
the right, and at first supposed it to be a signal from 
some of their water-hunters, and sent a messenger 
to Captain Cameron to inform him. At this time, 
most of the men, from pure inability to carry them, 
threw away their arms, and late in the evening 
started for the smoke. Some would stop to get the 
juice of plants to keep them from expiring, while 
every fifteen or twenty minutes others would have 
to rest. About 8 o'clock at night those in ad- 
vance approached near enough to the fires to ascer- 
tain it to be a Mexican cavalry camp. They en- 
deavoured to get around it, but found the pass 
ahead of them guarded by another camp of the en- 
emy. It was now daylight, and our men, scattered, 
exhausted, and without arms, had no other alter- 


native but to surrender to a force which, if they 
had kept the road, as was the original plan, they 
could have easily beaten ; and had they pursued 
the original plan, at this time they would have been 
safe in Texas. Before, however, Captain Cameron 
surrendered his party to Governor-general Mexier, 
he demanded and received the positive promise that 
all should be treated as "prisoners of ivar" and, so 
far as he was concerned, they were so treated. 

February 19th. The Mexicans continued to 
bring our men in by small parties. They remain- 
ed here until the 22 d, by which time they had one 
hundred and thirty four of our men prisoners, and 
then marched for Saltillo. These Mexicans show- 
ed humanity in not letting our men drink too much 
water, which, if they had permitted, must have pro- 
ved fatal. They also furnished them with plenty 
of beef, and a small quantity of wood to cook it 
with ; but, being tied with rawhide cords in pairs, 
and having the use of only one hand, they made 
but poor cooks. 

February 23d, being the second day from the 
pass in the mountains, they reached a rancho, where 
they found Dr. M'Math, Holderman, and Tawney. 
Here they remained on the 24th and 25th, when 
about thirty more of our men were brought in. The 
nights now being cold, the Mexicans having robbed 
our men of money, blankets, and clothing, they suf- 
fered greatly. 

February 26th. Marched twenty miles, and 


camped in a cowpen at a rancho. Now our pris- 
oners had increased to one hundred and sixty, and 
the sick were permitted to ride upon "burros" (jack- 

February 27th. Our men were whipped several 
times for untying the rawhide cords which sorely 
bound their limbs. Marched twenty-four miles to 
San Antonio, where the rawhide cords were ex- 
changed for iron handcuffs. Notwithstanding this 
precaution, the Mexicans showed great apprehen- 
sion lest another charge would be made upon 
them, for they would not allow the Texians to stand 
up in camp. Under all these cruelties, our men bore 
up with astonishing fortitude. They received their 
irons with smiles, promised a fair remuneration 
the first opportunity, and concluded the evening's 
entertainment by telling old tales and singing, to 
the utter astonishment of their captors. 

February 28th. They marched twenty miles, 
and encamped at bad water. March 1st. Started 
early ; got no water until they reached the suburbs 
of the town, where for the first time they were per- 
mitted to wash their faces, which were, as one may 
easily imagine, awfully dirty. Here they were halt- 
ed for the governor to come up, while great prepar- 
ations were making in the city to receive him. Our 
men were marched in under the ringing of bells, the 
firing of crackers, &c, and kept standing in the 
public square during the delivery of the victor's eu- 
logium ; after which they were marched into their 


filthy prison, infested with vermin, without anything 
this day to eat. 

March 2d. Received their welcome breakfast at 
10 o'clock. 3d. Waters and Torry were brought 
in and ironed together ; also the two Sargeants, who 
had been several days in town. 5th. Ten more of 
our men brought in. On the following day receiv- 
ed a donation of tobacco from a citizen— a most 
welcome present. 7th. Private Ackerman was 
brought in ; had reached within sixty miles of the 
Rio Grande before he was taken. 9th. Petitioned 
the governor for more rations, and to one meal per 
day he added coffee. This evening, B. Bryan, an 
amiable young man and a good soldier, died from a 
cold received in sleeping without a blanket. 10th. 
Nothing important occurred, except the comet was 
discernible, which was at first seen a few nights 
previous, and which made the superstitious Mexi- 
cans very uneasy, for they are ever expecting some- 
thing terrible to overtake their misdeeds. 12th. 
They were visited in prison by some Americans 
and Lipan Indians, who were not permitted to 
speak with the men. To-day five of the sick were 
baptized by a priest, and these men were afterward 
treated with more kindness by the citizens. They 
refused to render poor Bryan any assistance, be- 
cause he would not be baptized by them, but let 
him die for want of necessaries. They now learn- 
ed that an order had arrived from Mexico to shoot 
every tenth man, which the governor and citizens 


refused to execute, and petitions were sent back 
praying that they might be released, both on ac- 
count of their magnanimous conduct at Salado and 
on their retreat. Captain Cameron was now treat- 
ed with unusual kindness, the Mexicans in Saltillo 
declaring that they loved him for his bravery and 
magnanimity. 18 th. Joseph Watkins and Wright 
were brought in, found near Montclova, having laid 
down to die for the want of water ; were taken to 
the town of Quarto Sinicas, where they were treat- 
ed kindly, after having been robbed of everything 
they had. On the 19th and 20th the examination 
of our interpreters took place about the attack at 
Salado, Colonel Barragan's conduct, &c, &c. 

March 21st. The cavalry arrived from San Luis 
Potosi to guard our men to the city of Mexico. In 
the mean time, an order had reached Saltillo from 
Santa Anna to shoot the whole of our men, which 
was also disobeyed by Governor Mexier. 

On the 22d they took up the line of march under 
command of Colonel Ortis. That night they reach- 
ed Aqua Nuevo. 

On the 23d marched fourteen leagues to San Sal- 
vador. Here their handcuffs were examined, being 
ironed in pairs, a right and left hand of each two 
closely fastened with large irons, and the sick also 
ironed. Now they began to suspect something 
wrong, but still hoped otherwise. 

On the 24th marched eleven leagues. On the 
25th marched early, and arrived at the Salado about 


2 o clock P.M. Soon after they arrived, our men 
received the melancholy intelligence that they were 
to be decimated, and each tenth man shot. 

It was now too late to resist this horrible order. 
Oar men were closely ironed and drawn up in front 
of all their guards, with arms in readiness to fire. 
Could they have known it previously, they would 
have again charged their guards, and made them 
dearly pay for this last perfidious breach of national 
faith. It was now too late ! A manly gloom and 
a proud defiance pervaded all countenances. They 
had but one alternative, and that was to invoke their 
country's vengeance upon their murderers, consign 
their souls to God, and die like men. Could these 
martyrs in liberty's cause, who so proudly yielded 
up their lives for their country, have known that 
their President had endorsed their execution by the 
most villanous of all falsehoods, declaring them brig- 
ands — great God ! what would have been their feel- 
ings ! 

The decimator, Colonel Domingo Huerta, who 
was especially nominated to this black deed after 
Governor Mexier refused its execution, had arrived 
at Salado ahead of our men. The " Red-cap" com- 
pany were to be their executioners; those men 
whose lives had been so humanely spared by our 
men at this place on the 11th of February. 

The decimation took place by the drawing of 
black and white beans from a small earthen mug. 
The white ones signified exemption, and the black 



death. One hundred and fifty-nine white beans 
were placed in the bottom of the mug, and seven- 
teen black ones placed upon the top of them. The 
beans were not stirred, and had so slight a shake 
that it was perfectly clear they had not been mixed 
together. Such was their anxiety to execute Cap- 
tain Cameron, and perhaps the balance of the offi- 
cers, that first Cameron, and afterward they, were 
made to draw a bean each from the mug in this 

The opposite plate, sketched by Charles M'Laugh- 
lin, who was an eyewitness, and so fortunate as to 
draw clear, represents the gallant Cameron in the 
act of drawing first. He said, with his usual cool- 
ness, "Well, boys, we have to draw, let's be at it ;" so 
saying, he thrust his hand into the mug, and drew out 
a white bean. Next came Colonel Wm. F. Wilson, 
who was chained to him ; then Captain Wm. Ryan, 
and then Judge F. M. Gibson, all of whom drew 
white beans. Next came Captain Eastland, who 
drew the first black one, and then came the balance 
of the men. They all drew their beans with that 
manly dignity and firmness which showed them su- 
perior to their condition. Some of lighter temper 
jested over the bloody tragedy. One would say, 
" Boys, this beats raffling all to pieces ;" another 
would say that " this is the tallest gambling scrape 
I ever was in," and such like remarks. None 
showed change of countenance ; and as the black 
beans failed to depress, so did the white fail to elate. 


The knocking off the irons from the unfortunate 
alone told who they were. Poor Robert Beard, 
who lay upon the ground near by exceedingly ill, 
and nearly exhausted from his forced marches and 
sufferings, called his brother William, who was 
bringing him a cup of water, and said, " Brother, if 
you draw a black bean, I'll take your place ; I want 
to die." The brother, with overwhelming anguish, 
said, " No ! I will keep my own place ; I am strong- 
er, and better able to die than you." These noble 
youths both drew clear, but both soon after died, 
leaving this last Roman legacy to their venerable 
parents in Texas. Several of the Mexican officers 
who officiated in this cruel violation of their coun- 
try's faith expressed great dissatisfaction thereat, 
and some wept bitterly. Soon after, the fated were 
placed in a separate courtyard, where about dark 
they were executed. 

Several of our men were permitted to visit the 
unfortunate previously to the execution, to receive 
their dying requests. Poor Major Cocke, when he 
first drew the fatal bean, held it up between his fore- 
finger and thumb, and with a smile of contempt, said, 
" Boys, I told you so ; I never failed in my life to 
draw a prize ;" and then he said to Judge Gibson, 
" Well, judge, say to my friends that I died in 
grace." The judge, much affected at this last sad 
parting, showed it from his tears. The major re- 
plied, " They only rob me of forty years," and then 
sat down and wrote a sensible and dignified letter 


of remonstrance to General Waddy Thompson, the 
United States minister in Mexico • and knowing 
that his remains would be robbed of his clothes af- 
ter his death, drew off his pantaloons, handed them 
to his surviving comrades, and died in his under- 

Poor Henry Whaling, one of Cameron's best 
fighters, as he drew his black bean, said, with as 
bright a look as ever lighted man's countenance, 
" Well, they don't make much off me, any how, for 
I know I have killed twenty-five of the yellow-bel- 
lies ;" then demanding his dinner in a firm tone, and 
saying that " they shall not cheat me out of it," he 
ate heartily, smoked a cigar, and in twenty minutes 
after was launched into eternity ! The Mexicans 
said that this man had the biggest heart of any they 
ever saw. They shot him fifteen times before he 
expired ! 

Poor Torrey, quite a youth, but in spirit a giant, 
said that " he was perfectly willing to meet his fate; 
that for the glory of his country he had fought, 
and for her glory he was willing to die ;" and turn- 
ing to the officer, said, " After the battle of San Ja- 
cinto, my family took one of your prisoner youths, 
raised and educated him, and this is our requital." 

Edward Este spoke of his fate with the coolest 
indifference, and said that he would rather be shot 
than dragged along in this manner. Cash said, 
"Well, they murdered my brother with Colonel 
Fannin, and they are about to murder me." 


J. L. Jones said to the interpreter, " Tell the of- 
ficer to look upon men who are not afraid to die 
for their country." 

Captain Eastland behaved with the most patriot- 
ic dignity ; he desired that his country should not 
particularly avenge his death, but for her own hon- 
our he implored her never to lay down her arms 
until the most ample reparation and her uncondi- 
tional freedom should be secured. He said, "I 
know that some have thought me timid, but, thank 
God ! death has no terrors for me." Major Robert 
Dunham said " he was prepared to die, and would 
to God that he had a chance to do the same thing 
over again ; that he gloried in the demonstration 
they had made, which showed Texians without 
arms to be more than equal to Mexicans with them." 
James Ogden, with his usual equanimity of temper, 
smiled at his fate, and said, " I am prepared." 

Young Robert W. Harris behaved in the most 
unflinching manner, and called upon his companions 
to avenge the murder, while their flowing tears and 
bursting hearts, invoking heaven for their witness, 
responded to the call. I have the utmost confidence 
that this pledge, so solemnly plighted, will be re- 

They one and all invoked their country to do 
both them and herself justice. Captain Cameron, 
in taking his leave of these brave men, and partic- 
ularly of Turnbull, a brother Scotchman, with whom 
he had been in many dangers, wept bitterly, and im- 


plored the officers to execute him and spare his 

Just previous to the firing they were bound to- 
gether with cords, and their eyes being bandaged, 
they were set upon a log near the wall, with their 
backs to their executioners. They all begged the 
officer to shoot them in front, and at a short dis- 
tance ; that " they were not afraid to look death in 
the face." This he refused; and, to make his cruelty 
as refined as possible, fired at several paces, and con- 
tinued the firing from ten to twelve minutes, lacer- 
ating and mangling these heroes in a manner too 
horrible for description. 

Our interpreter, who was permitted to remain 
with them to the last, says that " fifteen times they 
wounded that iron-nerved soul, Henry Whaling; 
and it would seem that Providence had a special 
care in prolonging his existence, that he might dem- 
onstrate to his enemies the national character they 
had to contend with; for he gritted his teeth at and 
defied them in terms of withering reproach, until 
they placed a gun to his head and blew his brains 
against the wall. Such was the effect of this horri- 
ble massacre upon their own soldiers, who were sta- 
tioned as a guard upon the wall above, that one of 
them fainted, and came near falling over, but was 
caught by his comrades. 

During the martyrdom of these noble patriots, the 
main body of our men were separated from them 
by a stone wall of some fifteen feet high, and heard 


their last agonized groans with feelings of which it 
would be mockery to attempt the description. The 
next morning, as they were marched on the road to 
Mexico, they passed the mangled bodies of their 
dead comrades, whose bones now lie bleaching upon 
the plains of Salado, a perishing remembrance of 
exalted patriotism, but a lasting one of the infamy 
of their President, Sam Houston, who caused them 
to be falsely executed as robbers and marauders 
upon Mexico. 

We repeat that we look upon the 11th of Feb- 
ruary, 1843, with unspeakable national pride ; and 
had we been with our men on that occasion, I would 
have preferred, and it would have been vastly more 
to the honour of myself and country, to have per- 
ished in that attempt to regain our liberty, than to 
have tamely submitted to such slavery. Those who 
have denounced it as a "piece of moon-struck mad- 
ness," perhaps in their judgments they are sus- 
tained by the uninformed, on account of our men 
departing from the original plan of keeping the main 
road home. The calculation both of success in 
battle and the reasonableness of reaching home 
were maturely made ; and we repeat, without the 
fear of contradiction, that, had that plan of opera- 
tion been pursued by keeping the main road, on the 
19th, which was nine days after their victory at 
Salado, our men would have been safe in Texas. 
We knew the fact from Captain Fitzgerald and 
Messrs. Van Ness and Hancock, that all their reg- 


ular forces at San Fernando had been marched down 
to Guerrero, and that before said forces could be in- 
formed from Salado, and then marched back to out- 
crossing above the Precidio of the Rio Grande, our 
men would be far in Texas. We also knew the 
fact that it would be impossible to get any sufficient 
citizen force to attack them. These calculations 
were fully justified from the result that, 1st. Nine 
days after the battle, both Governor Mexier and Or- 
tega had only four hundred and twenty men to inter- 
cept them, a force which, had our men kept togeth- 
er in the road, would never have approached them. 

2dly. That on this road, and in sight of the city 
of Saltillo, Colonel Jordan, three years since, with 
one hundred and fourteen men, only ninety-three 
of whom were effective, fought General Vascus and 
one thousand five hundred troops, defeated him, and 
made good his retreat, in the face of this pursuing 
force, into Texas, with a loss of eight men. 

3dly. That only two years since one hundred 
and fifty miserable Comanche Indians put the town 
of Saltillo under tribute, and were supplied with 
every requisition. 

With these facts before us, will any except the 
" moon-struck" pretend to say that our two hundred 
and twenty-one men at Salado, who had performed 
such wonderful deeds of valour, could not do half 
what Jordan and his ninety-three did, or could not 
do what a few wretched Comanches had frequently 
done 1 


We return again to the battle of Salado, to in- 
quire after our wounded and those who remained 
with them. Of the wounded, Higgerson died soon 
after our main body had taken the road home. Cap- 
tains Fitzgerald and Baker, and privates Stansbury 
and Hancock, were placed in a rough cart and 
started to Mexico, with Captain Reese and those 
w r ho were not wounded, but who refused to return 
home with the balance of the men. Fitzgerald died 
the second day, and was hauled from the cart be- 
fore the vital spark had left his body, and thrown 
upon the prairie to the wolves and vultures. 

We rarely knew so brave a man and so good a 
soldier as was Captain F., an Irishman by birth. 
He had served as captain in the " Peninsular War" 
under General Evans, where he had distinguished 
himself, and came to Texas, as he informed the 
writer, "because ours was the most just cause in 
which he could engage." He deserves the sympa- 
thy of all brave men, and the lasting gratitude of our 
country. The balance of this party, in all sixteen, 
were, under charge of Colonel Ortis, carried to San 
Luis Potosi, which place they reached the 26th of 
February, where they overtook our party, which 
had been detained here several days. 

Captain Reese and his party have been severely 
censured by many of his comrades for not joining 
them in their attempt to reach home, and some 
have ascribed the worst of motives for his not so 
doing. Captain R. is too tried a soldier and devo- 



ted a patriot to allow a suspicion either of want of 
bravery or patriotism. It has been his good fortune, 
with his late brother, who fell fighting for Texas, 
to have been in every battle from the taking of San 
Antonio in 1835, in all of which they were dis- 
tinguished for their bravery. The writer has been 
with him in several trying situations, and few men, 
on all occasions, have evidenced such cool bravery. 
Had he never given any other evidence than in his 
scaling the walls of Perote, and successfully making 
his way through an enemy's country many hundred 
miles, it would have been sufficient to have stamp- 
ed him as a man of uncommon fortitude and daring. 
Captain Reese was opposed to the assault at Sala- 
do, because, as he says, he honestly doubted the 
success of the men in reaching their homes. But 
while the assault was going on, he exposed himself 
as much as any one in causing the Mexicans to give 
up their arms ; and after our men were victorious, 
he determined to share their fate, provided he could 
get his younger brother William, who was quite a 
lad, to remain. William resolved he would follow 
him, and this determined the captain to remain ; to 
which he yielded more on his account and that of 
his parents, who looked to him to take care of the 
youth, than his own. 

Our party, under charge of Captain Romano, 
proceeded from Mataguala on the San Luis Potosi 
road, and on the 17th of February reached the ha- 
cienda of Count Zivyes. This gentleman has a 


large estate, lives in superior style, and treated us 
with the most bountiful hospitality. Instead of 
eating our humble fare of tortillas and frijoles, we 
were invited night and morning to his mansion, and 
had a dozen covers for our meals. This unsolicit- 
ed, unexpected hospitality, to use a Texas expres- 
sion, "looked so much like the white settlements" 
that it warmly attached this excellent gentleman to 
us. He took great pains in showing us through his 
extensive buildings, and all the appurtenances be- 
longing to the establishment, particularly his farm- 
ing utensils, which we found to be exceedingly 
crude, at least one hundred years behind Texas in 
this respect. He was a gentleman of liberal educa- 
tion, but educated in Spain, the wrong place to 
make a good farmer. He seemed sensible of this, 
and showed us several English works upon agricul- 
ture. Stock is the principal produce of this large 
estate of forty-five leagues. He showed us a large 
number of horses and mules, and some of the best 
native horses we saw in Mexico. He appears very 
anxious to improve them by fine American breeds, 
and seemed astonished at our knowledge of blood- 
ed pedigree. Upon inquiring as to the extent of 
his stock, he remarked that "there were many lar- 
ger stock estates in Mexico; that he had twenty- 
seven hundred brood mares, which required sixty- 
eight stallions, and about fifty jacks to serve, as 
they did not allow more than twenty-five to each ; 
ten thousand black cattle, and forty thousand sheep. 


Stock of all kinds are very cheap in Mexico, and we 
fear we lost credit with the count by telling him 
the immense high prices at which our best bloods 
sold for in the United States ; but perhaps we are 
in more danger now, by telling of his immense num- 
bers. We parted reluctantly from the count, after 
extorting a promise from him to visit our country 
as soon as the war should end, and he desiring us 
to call freely upon him for every necessary in Mex- 

February 18th. Marched for San Luis Potosi, a 
distance of thirty leagues, which place we reached 
on the 20th; kept standing in the street, opposite 
the governor's quarters, in the hot sun, without per- 
mission to dismount, about twenty minutes, when 
we were marched off to a room in the hospital bar- 
racks. Being exceedingly fatigued, the sun having 
been excessively hot, and the dust in the road al- 
most suffocating, we had procured a flask of vino 
mascot, when a corporal stepped up, and, in the 
most contemptuous manner, took it from us : this 
privilege had never before been denied us. In a 
few minutes we heard Colonel Terris order a senti- 
nel to lock us up : this was done with as little cere- 
mony as the taking away of our flask. Upon our 
remonstrance, the governor had our door unlocked, 
and promised a reprimand to the old brute. We 
remained in this city eight days, in which time the 
following correspondence was held with the gov- 
ernor : 


" Prison, San Luis Potosi, ) 
February 22d, 1843. i 

" To his Excellency the Commander-in-chief ) 
of the Department of San Luis Potosi : $ 

« Sir, — The letter addressed to your excellency 
on the 19th instant by General Fisher being unan- 
swered, and no farther notice taken thereof, to the 
knowledge of the undersigned, than a verbal inquiry 
through an officer to know what was desired, makes 
it necessary that we should most reluctantly trouble 
you with another communication. We have a suf- 
ficient knowledge of the world to know how diffi- 
cult is the approach to power in different countries; 
and in laying our complaints before your excellency 
from this uncomfortable prison, we make much al- 
lowance that the truth will always reach you, sur- 
rounded as you are by such a succession of offi- 

" We should be recreant in duty to ourselves and 
to our own country, as well as to those illustrious gov- 
ernments which have formally acknowledged the na- 
tionality of Texas and the whole civilized world, to 
permit in silence a violation, in our own persons, of 
those wholesome laws which have been adopted for 
ages throughout all Christendom. And we most re- 
spectfully protest that being your prisoners of war, 
and incarcerated with all the indignity of state crim- 
inals, can in the least possible degree derogate from 
the character in which we capitulated, which we 
occupy in our country, and which the exalted gov- 
ernments of Great Britain, France, Belgium, and 


the United States recognise. At the same time, we 
do not pretend to assert that the violation of those 
laws are by order of your excellency; yet it is due 
that you should be correctly informed thereof, and 
we have the utmost confidence that such is not the 
desire of the illustrious men at the head of your 

" Upon our arrival in your city, after a fatiguing 
ride of ten leagues beneath a hot sun, we were lock- 
ed up in this prison, with the bare walls for furni- 
ture. We were about to refresh ourselves with a 
glass of " vino mascal," and even that was denied 
us. Some short time after we were favoured with 
the light of heaven, and permitted the use of spir- 
its,- for which was substituted quadruple guards 
within these high walls and without, so that we 
cannot, without intrusion, go one step to perform 
even the common offices of nature. Without a 
chair or bed to sit or lie upon, our apartment is 
made a guardroom, which bayoneted sentinels 
pace during the whole night, uttering every few 
minutes the most unearthly exclamations, as if the 
luxury of the brick pavement was too good a bed 
for us : these, with the " magnanimous" allowance 
of fifty cents per day for our support, is the situa- 
tion in which we are at present. 

" We protest that this treatment is wholly incon- 
sistent with the magnanimity of any civilized na- 
tion under the sun, aud we cannot believe it has the 
sanction of one occupying the exalted station of 


your excellency. Were such our belief, what a 
commentary would it be upon your high official 
station, that indignity, insult, and injury are heaped 
upon us because we had bravely done our duty to 
our country ! 

" We farther protest that it is not in the history 
of the English people, nor their descendants, the 
people of the United States, of whom we proudly 
acknowledge ourselves, that the honour of a gen- 
eral officer has been violated by breach of parole : 
and if your excellency rightly understands this na- 
tional character, you will acknowledge this honour 
is more binding than the criminal's chains. We 
therefore most respectfully look to your excellency 
for an extension of those rights which not only our 
articles of capitulation, but the laws of civilized 
warfare, guaranty to us. In conclusion, we beg 
leave to inform your excellency, that when we left 
Matamoras it was under a positive promise from 
General Ampudia, to whom we capitulated, that we 
should be sent with all possible despatch, in advance 
of the other prisoners, to your capital. We doubt 
not, when your excellency is informed of a promise 
made with the representative of the Mexican gov- 
ernment, you will take the earliest means of carry- 
ing it out. 

" With considerations of high regard, we sub- 
scribe ourselves your excellency's obedient ser- 


After we sent the above letter to the governor, we 
experienced much better treatment from our guards. 

Before leaving the city, Captain Romano called 
to bid us adieu, and as a testimonial of his good 
conduct and kind treatment to us, we addressed him 
the following note : 

" San Luis Potosi, February 20th, 1843. 
" To Captain Herman Romano, Mexican Army : 

" Sir, — Before separating with you, permit us to 
tender our warmest and heartfelt acknowledgments 
for the many courtesies you have extended towards 
us as prisoners of war since we have been under 
your charge. 

It is a prominent part of the constitution of the 
brave to feel for the misfortunes of the brave : this 
feeling has marked you out, in our estimation, as 
eminently entitled to your government's confidence; 
for, at the same time that you have been kind and 
generous to us, you have performed your duty with 
firmness and dignity towards her. The coward has 
no feelings in common with the brave: their senti- 
ments can never assimilate ; they are essentially 
different; the one glories in generosity to a fallen 
foe, while the other delights in a tyrannical author- 
ity when placed beyond accountability. 

" That you may meet with that honourable pro- 
motion which you deserve, and a safe return to your 
family and friends, is the sincere desires of your obe- 
dient humble servants." 

While in this city we had been several days un- 


der the immediate charge of Captain Reyes, an old 
veteran, who, above thirty years previous, fought un- 
der Hidalgo, and from him we received also kind 
treatment, which we acknowledged in the following 
note : 

" San Luis Potosi, February 28th, 1843. 
" To Captain Jose Marie Reyes, Mexican Army. 

" Sir, — Before leaving your city, permit us to ten- 
der you our warmest thanks for the kind and humane 
treatment we have received at your hands while 
prisoners of war under your immediate charge. 

" One of your long experience, who has grown 
gray in the most honourable and chivalrous of all 
professions, can rightly estimate the feelings of a 
brother-soldier when his fortunes are reversed by the 
chances of war. Of this you have given us the 
most honourable proof, by which you have made us 
your debtors, and secured our lasting gratitude. 
Please accept our fervent and best wishes for your 
continued health and prosperity. Very respectfully 
your obedient servants." 

The city of San Luis Potosi is a large and beau- 
tiful place, and the capital of the state of that name. 
Its population has greatly decreased since the com- 
mencement of the revolution in 1809. It is situated 
in an extensive plain, surrounded by high mountains, 
and the cultivation carried on, and the cattle water- 
ed from numerous wells worked by mules. These 
wells are usually deep, and dug in the form of a par- 



allelogram ; the mode of raising the water has been 
greatly improved since the Honourable Joel R. Poin- 
sett travelled through this country in 1822. It is, 
however, exceedingly simple, and might be used with 
great advantage in many portions of the United 
States. A mule, blindfolded (for almost everything 
is hoodwinked in that country), is hitched to a shaft 
which turns a perpendicular spindle, to which is at- 
tached a crude vertical cog wheel, working a drum 
over which a leather band is passed, and upon which 
is attached small buckets, one foot apart, upon the 
plan of elevators in a flour mill. This band extends 
to the water, be the well deep or shallow. The wa- 
ter is consequently passed over the drum, and falls 
into a trough, which conducts it to an extensive res- 
ervoir, from which the cattle and farm are supplied. 
The hoodwinked animal works his day without a 
driver, and is then turned upon the common to recu- 
perate, while a fresh one is hitched in his place, and 
thus a perpetual stream of water is poured forth from 
these numerous wells. 




Hacienda de Plata. — Bad Treatment. — Xaral, Marquis of. — Horses ta- 
ken from us. — Made to walk over the Mountain. — Our Remonstrances 
with the Colonel. — Billy Reese and the Catholic Crosses. — Bugler, his 
Wife, and Sister.— Suffer for Water. — Punishment of a Soldier. — Do- 
lores. — Hidalgo.— Calleja. — San Miguel el Grande. — Hacienda of the 
Jesuits. — Burned Hacienda. — Lodged in a Stable.— The Comet. — Su- 
perstition concerning it. — Mexicans meet Danger with a Prayer. — 
Cruel Treatment. — Mexican Officers. — Lasso. — Lice. — Fleas : Advan- 
tage of. — Locked up. — Protest. — Quartered in a Corral. — Villanous 
Conduct of the Colonel. — Valley of Mexico. — Arrival at Tacubaya. — 
Description of. — General Jackson's Birthday. — Friends visit us. — Mr. 
Cursin. — Captain West. — Mr. Packenham : Interview with. 

March 1st. Placed under charge of Colonel Ter- 
ris, of the fourth regiment of infantry, and started for 
Mexico, in company with Captain Reese and his 
party of sixteen, who had arrived in San Luis Potosi 
a few days after us. To-day marched five leagues 
to a hacienda de Plata, a silver estate, which had pre- 
viously been worked with much profit, but now, like 
a majority of the mines of Mexico, in disuse for the 
purposes of making silver. " Rich as the mines of 
Potosi" has long been a proverb ; but if the proverb 
were now reversed, it would be more appropriate. 

March 2d. Marched nine leagues to a hacienda, 
where we were halted about two hours, and kept 
standing in front of the buildings in the open road, 
and in the most intensely-burning sun, while the sol- 
diers of the regiment had taken advantage of a few 


feet of shade upon the north side of a wall to repose 
for the time. As was customary with the savage old 
officer in command, he had sent his servant ahead 
and prepared dinner for himself and other officers, 
which they were enjoying within the cool and ample 
apartments of the building ; after which they retired 
to their siesta, not only regardless of our comfort, but 
perfectly indifferent whether we ate or not. We 
gave the corporal of our guard money to purchase 
for us something to eat ; after much delay, he brought 
a few eggs and frijoles (beans), not more for our 
eighteen companions than two could have eaten. 
After about two hours the officers made their appear- 
ance, refreshed from their siesta, and marched us five 
leagues farther to the hacienda Xaral, a large place 
containing about nine thousand souls, and one of 
many other, though smaller, haciendas belonging to 
the old Marquis de Xaral, who resided at this place. 
Here we were quartered in an unfurnished room in 
the meson (inn), and had the great satisfaction of 
buying with our own money enough to eat, which 
always came to us at two or three prices over and 
above what the Mexicans would pay for it; for fre- 
quently the officer of the guard, and always the or- 
derly appointed to do our purchasing, had his profits 
to make. 

As we expected, we did not see the excellent old 
marquis ; for some of our companions, who the year 
previous had been with the Santa Fe prisoners, were 
most grateful for his benevolence to them on that oc- 


casion, as he has since been to the main body of our 
Mier men when passing his residence. Two of his 
sons, with many other citizens, came to our quarters 
and looked into our prison-room at us, with about 
the same amount of curiosity that people ordinarily 
look into a cage of monkeys or lions, with possi- 
bly this difference in their moral reflections : that it 
was strange that such heretics as we, so very igno- 
rant of the Holy Virgin and the saints, should be 
braver and more skilled in war than they. With 
their supreme ignorance in most things, I have never 
yet seen a Mexican officer or soldier so ignorant as 
to doubt that superiority; and the very many with 
whom I have conversed think it no disparagement 
to their arms when we allow that they may possibly 
fight us five to our one. 

The marquis has very extensive estates. We 
were told that he owned some twenty odd haciendas. 
We travelled several days upon his possessions. The 
principal income of his estates is in the sale of live- 
stock. At the hacienda Xaral we were informed 
that he butchered ninety thousand wethers per an- 
num. The slaughter-house was pointed out to us : 
an extensive establishment, with kettles arranged 
something after the plan of sugar-boilers, into which, 
after the sheep are butchered, and chopped up bone 
and flesh together, they are placed, and the tallow 
extracted. Both the tallow and the residuum form 
extensive articles of commerce : the former for can- 
dles and for other purposes, and the latter, being 


ready cooked, is generally kept for sale in the shops 
as an article of food, and much use made of it by the 
soldiery, it being always ready to be eaten. 

The pavement in our prison-room being smooth, 
we slept soundly until awakened by the bugles at four 
o'clock. We were now informed that if w r e wished 
to ride any farther on our journey, we could have the 
privilege of hiring our own mules or burros. Up to 
this time we had been furnished horses, both by or- 
der of General Ampudia, and Governor Ortega of 
New Leon, and such was the order of the governor 
of San Luis Potosi, who had two days previous fur- 
nished us with the horses we rode to this place. We 
remonstrated with Colonel Terris against this act as 
violative of our articles of capitulation and the reit- 
erated promises of General Ampudia, but to little ef- 
fect. Our rations had been reduced by him from 
fifty to twenty-five cents per day, which, under the 
rascally imposition of our officers and orderlies, would 
not have been sufficient to sustain life, had it not been 
for our excellent friends in Matamoras insisting upon 
our taking some money to meet such emergencies. 

We determined not to submit quietly to any im- 
position from the commandant, and told him that we 
would represent his conduct to his master at the cap- 
ital ; and after procuring a mule, upon which our 
blankets and sheepskins were packed, we were 
marched out on foot with a file of bayoneted guards 
upon each hand, under the repeated cry of officer, 
sergeants, and corporals, of " dos-a-dos" two and two. 


March 3d. Our road to-day lay in a southern di- 
rection, up the valley in which Xaral is situated, and 
five leagues brought us to a parallel chain of the Sierra 
Madre, the mother mountain, under the never-ceasing 
cry of " delante," forward, of our guards. It was the 
first day that we were compelled to march on foot — 
the first day on foot is always the most tiresome — 
and, having been hurried at a rapid gait to the foot 
of the mountain, the abrupt ascent of which for sev- 
eral leagues made us all wish for asses. To at- 
tempt to describe how tired one may be when bro- 
ken down, but still forced on with the " sharp sticks" 
as our boys familiarly called the bayonets, at our 
backs, would be unintelligible to all except those who 
have experienced it. To be ordinarily broke down 
is bad enough, but to be broke down going up a 
steep mountain, too rough for any animals except 
mules or goats to travel, is the worst kind of fatigue : 
you experience a total giving way of the muscles of 
your thighs, and, however willing you may be to pro- 
ceed $ your legs will not respond. The greatest con- 
solation we found in this fix was to gnash our teeth, 
and hope to see the day when we could balance this 

Having proceeded several miles up the mountain 
side, I procured from one of the followers of the 
army the use of a mule to help me on. I rode but 
a few hundred yards, when I overtook my young 
friend Billy Reese, who begged me, " for God's sake, 
to let him ride some." I promised him that at such 


a pile of stones a short distance above he might take 
the mule. Upon reaching this place he blazed away 
with his walking cane, and knocking the Catholic 
cross from the pile, turned to me and said, " Now, 
general, I feel a little better; I think I can go another 
league;" so saying, our boys raised a shout, and pulled 
on up the mountain. 

This very broken and stony mountain pass has 
been, from the first settlement of the country, more 
or less infested with robbers, and wherever they 
have murdered a traveller, on the spot is raised a 
cross, which the ignorant Catholic erects, not as the 
memento mori of our nation, but they believe it to be 
the key to heaven. Every good Catholic after, in 
passing the place, will cross himself in prayer, and 
throw upon the spot a pebble the size of a partridge 
egg, or larger, according to convenience. In pro- 
portion to the number killed upon the spot, or the 
character of the individual, and the time when mur- 
dered, so is the size of the pile. If the murdered 
was of high character or esteemed goodness, the 
greater the interest felt in redeeming him from pur- 
gatory, and, consequently, his pile is larger than that 
of the humble Peon. In this pass, at every few steps 
for several miles, the traveller will notice these pyra- 
mids of pebbles, from the size of a barrel to ten feet 
high, terminating in a cone, with a corresponding sized 
cross in the centre. Several of these crosses felt the 
weight of Billy's staff, to the unutterable horror of our 
black guards of the " true faith." 


Young Billy Reese had more cause of complaint 
than most of us. He was one of the four small 
boys whom General Ampudia released from prison 
at Mier, and whom he promised to send home from 
Matamoras ; but, when reminded of his promise, he 
said, " If I send you home now, you will be back 
upon the Rio Grande in three weeks, fighting us 
again :" so young Reese was sent on to the capital, 
where, through the influence of the United States 
minister, General Thompson, he was released. Bil- 
ly was the largest of the four boys, and the downy 
evidences upon his upper lip, resembling a young 
frost, bespoke the confidence of sixteen. If our 
friend had less reverence for the mummeries of the 
" true faith," his Hotspur qualities made him the bet- 
ter soldier. This leads me to remark here, what my 
experience has long since taught me, that I would far 
prefer an army of boys to an army of men : the go- 
ahead qualities of the former will hardly fail to win, 
while the more calculating character of the latter 
make their movements too slow. Had our two hun- 
dred and sixty-one men at Mier been boys, I do not 
entertain a doubt but that I should have been spared 
the pain of recording their captivity, sufferings, and 

Having ascended the mountain, we were marched 
several leagues upon the level table-land, extensively 
cultivated, and at the end of nine leagues we stop- 
ped for the night, and were crammed into a small, 
filthy room of an extensive hacienda, with several 



of their own miserable Peons, who were marched in 
our ranks and under the same guards, to be made 

One of these prisoner Peons was a bugler, and 
consequently, a prize of no ordinary value in the es- 
timation of the Mexican commander ; for the Mex 
icans, of all people, pride themselves most upon the 
empty show and pomp of the camp. In this skele- 
ton of a regiment of less than three hundred men, 
there were more musicians than belong to a division 
in the United States army. On one occasion the 
Mexican officers asked us where our musicians were. 
We answered, " We are all musicians in Texas !" 
" Upon what instruments do you perform V ' " Upon 
the rifle," we answered, when, suddenly, the muscles 
of their faces would elongate from the pleasant to 
the most inexpressible blank. On this and similar 
occasions, when we would quiz them — and we let 
no opportunity pass for so doing — they would al- 
ways come to the conclusion that " we were a 
strange people." 

In the wife and sister of this bugler prisoner we 
witnessed instances of female fortitude and devotion, 
which, if we were not to notice, we should be unjust 
to the purpose of these pages. This poor man, 
who had been kidnapped because he knew how to 
blow a horn, was kept in the strictest confinement. 
His wife and sister abandoned their homes, and fol- 
lowed the regiment on foot several hundred miles, 
packing water and provisions for him, and attending 


to his wants with a devotion I never saw surpassed. 
The sister, whenever the regiment would halt, occu- 
pied herself in making small paper segars, " cigar- 
ritos," which she sold both to our comrades and the 
soldiers, while the wife would buy gourds full of 
" vino masca!" and retail to us by the drink. The 
profit of their trades gave them the means of sup- 
plying the wants of the husband and brother. The 
conduct of these women, so pure, so unshaken in 
the interest of this unfortunate man, caused me to 
remark, what I have often before observed, both in 
Mexico and other parts of the world, how far supe- 
rior, in the cultivation of the charities of life, does 
the female appear over the male portion of mankind. 

The small, dirty room we had been forced into, 
with their own filthy prisoners, was barely large 
enough for our own party to lay down, and it open- 
ed into an inner court of the building, which was 
occupied by the regiment, into which we could 
not pass for the sentinel at our door. Here we 
were kept three hours without water, when it was 
but a short distance from us. The heat and dust 
almost suffocating us, added to our fatigue in be- 
ing forced over the mountains at a rapid gait, made 
our thirst intolerable. The soldiers of the regiment 
had plenty of water near us, while we had to suffer 
all the tortures of the extremest want of it, until the 
Mexican officers had luxuriated in their national ef- 
feminacy, the siesta. 

At length the lieutenant-colonel, whose name I 


did not learn, but an officer vastly more humane than 
the colonel, made his appearance, and, upon our re- 
monstrance, had the Mexican prisoners taken out of 
our room and a barrel of water brought us. In the 
mean time I purchased a tin cup of water, which 
had greatly relieved me ; and while our men were 
drinking at the barrel, a dirty soldier of the regi- 
ment came in, thrust his gourd and hand into the 
water up to his wrist, and, when ordered out, re- 
plied in the most contemptuous manner that " we 
were nothing but robber prisoners." This was 
too much for my Southern temper under the cha- 
fings of that day. I smashed his gourd against the 
floor, seized the fellow by the throat, and kicked 
him out of the door into the midst of his regi- 
ment. As might be supposed, it was an insult to 
the whole regiment for a " heretic robber-prisoner" 
thus to treat one of the " magnanimous nation," and 
they showed strong indications of punishing it in a 
sanguinary manner, when the lieutenant-colonel 
came forward to quell the excitement. He in- 
quired the cause of it, and was informed that I 
had kicked one of the soldiers out of the room, 
and would do so again when occasion required it, 
when he ordered that no soldier in future should 
be permitted to come into our apartment. My treat- 
ment of this fellow had this good effect : if it did 
not give us more bread, it gained us more respect. 

March 4th. To-day, our feet being exceedingly 
sore from our yesterday's march over the mountain, 


we were permitted to hire a few mules, and eight 
leagues brought us to Dolores, a handsome town of 
several thousand inhabitants. We remained at this 
place all the 5th ; it being Sabbath, the regiment 
had to undergo review, &c. This town is celebra- 
ted as the place where, in 1809, the priest Hidalgo 
first assembled his desultory forces and commenced 
the Revolution. We have already passed over the 
ground of his final defeat, where the king's troops, 
under Calleja, beat with great slaughter his mob- 
army, took him prisoner, and recaptured his im- 
mense spoil of many millions which he had taken 
from Guanaxuato and other cities. To this re- 
markable man is due the credit for the good or evil 
which has resulted to Mexico by a severance from 
the mother country. He it was that put the ball in 
motion, and though his life paid the forfeit, other 
and worse men have shared the spoils. 

March 6th. We were marched ten leagues to 
San Miguel el Grande, a city of about fifteen thou- 
sand people, built upon the side of a steep hill, and 
bountifully watered by a mountain stream. Here 
we were quartered in a filthy, unfurnished room, 
upon the ground floor of an extensive cathedral, the 
upper apartments of which are used as a college, 
and which is celebrated as the institution where Hi- 
dalgo was educated. The name of Hidalgo seems 
,to be held in great reverence here ; we saw it in- 
scribed in sundry places about the town. Our room 
opened upon a court in which a delicious jet dJcau 


fell into a large stone reservoir, where we had the 
luxury of washing our face and hands to our hearts' 
content. This luxury, almost as indispensable to 
Texians, or the nation from whence most of us 
sprang, as eating, is almost unknown in Mexico ; 
we rarely saw an officer or soldier wash his face. 
To-day we were stopped to noon it at one of the 
confiscated haciendas of the Jesuits, in a delightful 
and well-watered valley, where there is an exten- 
sive and beautiful church, which, though built a 
long time since, the scriptural paintings upon the 
dome and outside are still brilliant. We were for- 
ced into a filthy alley, only a few feet in width, 
communicating directly with the comiin, the most 
horrible smelling of all places, where we had either 
to eat or fast. 

March 7th. Marched eight leagues to the "burn- 
ed hacienda," where we were lodged in a stable. This 
night, for the first time, we discovered the comet; 
and to obtain a clearer view, all hands had to mount 
the horse -trough. We had an excited argument 
among ourselves whether it was a comet, or what it 
was ; and the warmth with which we debated the 
matter excited the curiosity as well as alarmed the 
fears of our ignorant guards. They inquired of us 
what it meant, and we told them that "it was a 
messenger sent by God, which foretold bloody war 
at the capital, for its tail pointed in that direction." 
This was a reasonable reply ; for several days we 
had met news, all of which tended to show that a 


formidable outbreak was daily expected at the cap- 
ital against Santa Anna, and that he was calling 
this, one of his favourite regiments, near his person 
in anticipation of some such event. The work- 
ings of the sentinel's lips, and the shy and rapid 
motion of crossing himself in prayer, soon show- 
ed that our tale had the desired effect : that night 
several of them deserted. 

Let a Mexican be capsized in the middle of a riv- 
er, instead of swimming he will stop to say his pray- 
ers. Let him be at sea in a storm, instead of laying 
hold of the ropes he will stop to say his prayers. 
Let any danger beset him on land, instead of apply- 
ing himself to meet the emergency he appeals to his 
patron saint. I was informed by Lieutenant Tay- 
lor, of her Britannic majesty's navy, who was on 
board the Mexican steamer Montezuma, off Cam- 
peachy, when Commodore Moore first attacked 
them, that the whole Mexican portion of the crew 
fled below and went to prayers to supplicate the Holy 
Virgin to stand between them and danger. He gave 
it to me as his opinion that, had the breeze lasted 
for Commodore Moore to come to close quarters 
at that time, the Mexican navy would have fallen an 
easy prey. Extremely farcical and ludicrous as pray- 
ers at such a time must have appeared to a British 
officer, a repetition of them could not be submitted 
to when the reputation of a British officer was con- 
cerned. This officer then quitted that service with 
as much disgust as he, on the other hand, entertain- 


ed admiration of the naval skill and gallantry of our 

This day the officer of our guard proved himself 
to be a most finished young savage. On several oc- 
casions he refused us water when it was entirely 
convenient, for no stopping of our guard interfered 
at all with the movements of the regiment, we being 
kept far enough in the rear to have the full benefit 
of the most intolerable dust. In no country have I 
witnessed the dust comparable to the dry season in 
Mexico. At noon this day we were stopped for 
three hours in the road, exposed to the heat of a 
broiling sun, while the officers were eating and ta- 
king their siesta in the houses. 

March 8th. Marched four leagues to a hacienda, 
where we were stopped at noon and placed in a sta- 
ble, while the officers, as usual, were enjoying all the 
luxuries of the spacious buildings. In the evening 
the march was continued four leagues more, and we, 
with the Mexican prisoners, were lodged in a strong 
stone house, used as a granary. To-day our officer 
of the guard was more humane, and, from the small 
gold ring he wore in his left ear, it was evident he 
had been one of our San Jacinto prisoners. This 
mark of distinction, I was informed, is honorary, and 
observed by most of the officers who survived the 
perils of that day. 

March 9th. This day we had the good fortune 
again to have another humane officer of our guard. 
He refused to let the guards follow us on occasions 


which need not be specified. He would stop with 
us at the pulque stands on the roadside and partake 
of that delightful beverage, and showed us all the 
kindness in his power. This night we were halted 
at the end of five leagues, and quartered in a strong 
stone granary. 

March 10th. Marched five leagues to San Juan 
del Rio, a beautiful town of about ten thousand in- 
habitants. At this place Adjutant Murry was taken 
very ill, insomuch that we did not expect him to sur- 
vive many minutes. When Colonel Terris came into 
our quarters, pretending to sympathize on the occa- 
sion, he was told by Colonel Fisher, Dr. Shepherd, 
and others, that it was his cruelty which had brought 
on his illness ; that he had taken the old man's mule 
from him, and the rapid gait he had been forced in 
his lame condition was the cause of his attack. In 
fine, the abuse that we poured upon him was by no 
means measured, which caused the old monster to 
leave our quarters without ceremony. 

March 11th. Marched ten leagues before we 
w T ere halted to noon it, and placed in a stable with 
the horses, mules, and asses. This long march was 
exceedingly fatiguing, and we suffered badly for wa- 
ter. After much begging, I purchased one medio 
worth, while the Mexican soldiers were served with 
large caskfuls in our presence. 

In the mean time, the officer of our guard retailed 
a barrel of pulque to our companions at an unusual 
high price. The settlement between him and the 

C c 


owner of the pulque explained that he was interested 
in its sale, and, as a more certain means of making 
us buy freely, we were kept from water. After the 
pulque was sold, and just as the march was about to 
be resumed, we were furnished water. 

There is something so inexpressibly mean in this 
transaction, that a captain, wearing two epaulets, 
should be guilty of such low thieving, will be difficult 
of belief in the United States or any honourable ser- 
vice. The moral grade of honour governing the 
Mexican service may be better estimated from the 
fact that there were several officers who would bor- 
row from one to five, and in one case as high as ten 
dollars from us, whose funds they must have presumed 
to be low, under, in every instance, the most solemn 
promise that at some place ahead they would return 
it. In no instance was a shilling ever returned ; and 
though we loaned the money in no expectation that 
it would be returned, yet these loans were servicea- 
ble to us in two respects. The borrower looked 
upon it as an appeal to his better treatment of us, 
and it generally had that effect, while the amount 
loaned to different officers served to designate them. 
Thus, instead of using our vernacular English upon 
the hard Spanish names, we would, "for short? call 
such a one " Sergeant Ten Dollars," " Lieutenant 
Three Dollars," or " Captain Five Dollars," accord- 
ing to the amounts which they respectively borrowed. 

Another characteristic peculiar to the "magnani- 
mous nation" is, that they not only do not wash their 


faces, but they do not wash the plates in which they 
serve dinner. The sutler-woman, in bringing round 
to us for sale large earthen jars of hashed mutton, 
" chile," and tortillas, would first serve to their own 
officers a saucer full generally for a medio, the six- 
teenth of a dollar, which they would eat with their 
fingers. There are only a few of the richest peo- 
ple in Mexico who own knives and forks, and the 
most of them handle them with as little grace as a 
cornfield negro would a rapier. The tortilla is a 
cake of bread made of Indian corn, about the thick- 
ness of upper leather, and quite as pliant. This 
cake not only serves the Mexicans as bread, but an- 
swers the triple purpose of knife, fork, and spoon: 
he with surprising dexterity will tear off a piece, 
and with his thumb and the two first fingers of his 
dexter hand, the fore finger being in the centre, so 
as to give it a spoon shape, dip up the red chops, 
and at every dip a new spoon disappears. The im- 
mense quantity of chile, " red pepper," used in cook- 
ing gives everything cooked more the appearance of 
being submerged in a paint-bucket of oil and red 
lead than eatable gravy. Usually, after their officers, 
and frequently their dirtiest soldiers, would sop their 
saucers empty, not clean, our dinner would be served 
in the same without washing. On frequent occa- 
sions, the sutler-woman, for decency sake, would 
take the lately-used saucer, and, crooking the fore 
finger of her right hand in a half moon shape, run it 
round the inside of the vessel with surprising expert- 


ness, and then give the aforesaid semicircled finger 
a flirt to rid it of its contents, in readiness to serve 
the next. 

On this occasion, a fat young sutler- woman brought 
into our stable a jar of this hashed victuals. After 
quietly sitting flat upon the ground, in the manner 
of United States tailors — the Mexican tailors sit 
upon stools* — she commenced fingering the lately- 
used saucer in the manner above described. Being 
hungry, and my temper not the most placid, on ac- 
count of the pulque imposition, I ordered her to take 
her finger out of my saucer and wash it. " What 
does he want V she said to the interpreter. When 
my order was explained, the good-natured creature 
burst forth into a laugh which made her fat sides 
shake ; and all the satisfaction I could get was, " That 
you are the strangest people I ever saw ; I haven't a 
doubt but that you have eaten many a peck of dirt 

After the Mexican officers had finished their si- 
esta, all except one old colonel came forth into the 
stable-yard where we were confined. Each had in 
his hand a lasso, with a running noose at one end 

* I have observed that individual habit is not more inveterate than na- 
tional, even in small matters. In Mexico, while working at their trade, 
the tailors sit upon stools, while the English race set flat upon a board, 
with their legs crossed under them. In Mexico the barbers turn their 
razors upon the edge in stropping, while ours turn theirs upon the back. 
Their barbers use their fingers to lather one's beard, while our people 
would consider it extremely filthy to have a fellow fingering about their 
lips. One of our petit inconveniences was in failing to find a shaving- 
brush for sale in all Mexico. 


of it, ready for throwing. To catch a hog or a mule 
by the foot when running is esteemed by them a 
high accomplishment, and for a time they seemed 
to be proud of the amusement it afforded us, until 
they ascertained that we were laughing in ridicule 
of their national gymnastics. One of our men, 
whose wardrobe was not worth six cents in a fair 
market, told one of these gilt-laced gentry, " Why, 
sir, I would flog one of my negroes if he were guilty 
of such unintellectual stupidity as to throw a rope 
over a pig's head." " How, then," said the officer, 
" do you catch your cavallos and chickens 1" "Well," 
answered the Republican, " the former we learn to 
come to the bridle ; the latter, w r e cut their throats 
with the rifle, and we don't claim any that is hit on 
the head." " Hal Dios /" (my God!) he exclaimed, 
" what a strange people you are !" 

Had I Santa Anna's power in Mexico, as it is his 
duty, and should enter deeply into his military glo- 
ry, I would abolish in the army the extravagant use 
of chile, and make it highly punishable for an officer 
to pack his bed or indulge in the siesta. These 
effeminate indulgences are more calculated to make 
women than soldiers. The extravagant use of chile 
is as hurtful to energy as the too great use of ardent 
spirits. Before dinner, the slothful gait and languid 
countenance of the Mexican shows the absence of 
this stimulant, when, after dinner, its effects make 
the siesta indispensable. Santa Anna was enjoy- 
ing the sweets of this evening sleep at San Jacinto 


when " that mishap," as he calls it, befell him ; and 
experience should have long since taught him the 
force of these observations. I would also reduce 
that officer to the ranks who would be guilty of the 
low accomplishment of throwing the lasso. It has 
been said that " the Texian is born with a rifle in 
his hand," and with equal truth it may be said 
that " the Mexican is born with a rope in his," for 
at every Mexican settlement we noticed the chil- 
dren, from knee high and upward, with little ropes, 
catching the ducks and chickens. It appeared to 
be their only amusement ; and they would throw 
them with remarkable certainty. The old roosters 
and drakes, that had been often taken this way, seem- 
ed to know how useless it was to attempt escape, 
and would squat to receive the rope when they saw 
it coming. In Mexico the lasso is used for catch- 
ing every animal, from a wild bull to the tamest 
dunghill fowl ; nor is its use unknown in recruiting 
"their volunteers" for the army. Our comrades used 
to say that "these blanketed, pepper-eating fellows 
would not believe a thing was caught at all unless 
it was done with a rope." 

This evening we were marched two leagues to 
Arroyo Saco, and jammed into a subterranean room, 
covered with trodden straw, from which, whenever 
stirred, the most suffocating dust would fill the room. 
Added to this, the pulgas, fleas — not by the count, 
for there are not numerals enough in mathematics to 
give an idea of their number, but in bushels — the 


pulgas completely usurped the dominion of tliepiojos, 
lice ; and the only advantage we experienced from 
them was, that their frisky activity made us for the 
time insensible to the slow, plodding operations of 
the latter. They acted as counter-irritants, for the 
same reason that a negro puts red pepper in his eye 
to cure the toothache. 

What made this night the more insufferable was 
that, notwithstanding there were numerous unoccu- 
pied and comfortable apartments in this building, 
which we were not permitted to occupy, we were 
refused the privilege of sleeping in the open court 
upon the pavement. Colonel Fisher and myself 
addressed the following note to the colonel, from 
whom we received no reply : 

" Sir, — We have been placed in a miserable barn, 
where the dust and vermin are insufferable, and we 
take this means of requesting the gracious privilege 
of sleeping upon the pavement in the open court. 
We have not time now to remonstrate against con- 
duct which is in such flagrant violation of the arti- 
cles of our capitulation and of every principle of 
civilized warfare." 

March 12th. All hands rejoiced at the appear- 
ance of daylight, and the prospect of escaping from 
our most horrible lodgings. Four miserable small 
burros being furnished our sick and lame, we com- 
menced our march after shaking off myriads of fleas. 


After marching two leagues, Colonel Fisher and 
myself procured each a broken-down pack-mule, 
for which the owner exacted double price. At the 
end of seven leagues we were halted for the night, 
and the lieutenant-colonel had us lodged in two 
rooms, furnished with a pine table and a bench 
each. I saw but little furniture even in the best 
houses in Mexico. In fact, we usually see better 
furniture and more comforts in the most indifferent 
hotels of the United States than in the best in Mex- 
ico. There it is as usual for the traveller to pack 
his bed, as it is in the United States for the travel- 
ler to pack his saddlebags. The traveller, in stop- 
ping for the night, leases a room in the meson, inn, 
and pays for his provender according to the price 
stipulated and the amount furnished. 

At ten o'clock this night the officer of the guard 
locked our door, which, when closed, was like an 
hermetical seal. Such a number, when confined in 
so small a place, had a reasonable prospect of suf- 
focating. The suffocations in the black holes of In- 
dia, and the prison-ships of England in the Revo- 
lutionary War of the United States, appeared to our 
imaginations in the full force of reality. Our little 
knowledge of the component parts of the atmosphere 
gave us no relief. We calculated how long the oxy- 
gen in a cubic foot would sustain life— how many 
cubic feet in the room — the number of persons in 
the room, and the length of time we had to occupy 
it. This calculation was the result of the instant, 


and it left a woful quotient for our consolation. 
We rose from our pavement, struck a light, and Col- 
onel Fisher and myself addressed the following note 
to the commandant : 

" To the Colonel commanding the 4th Regi- ) 
ment of Infantry, Mexican Army. > 

Sir, — We have been locked up in a small close 
room, where not a breath of air can enter except 
by the door. It is useless to remark upon this un- 
comfortable situation ; but if by this order you in- 
tend to insinuate that it is our intention or desire to 
escape, we, as honourable men and officers, cast 
back the insinuation with that resentment which 
such gratuitous cruelty deserves. 

" We have no hesitation in believing that we are 
far more anxious to reach the city of Mexico than 
yourself, where we may be placed in the hands of 
the high functionaries of your government, whose 
regard for the pledged faith and ' magnanimity' of 
the nation, it is hoped, will deal with us in a far dif- 
ferent manner than has been your pleasure. 

" Had it been our wish to escape, we had ample 
opportunities eight hundred miles nearer home to do 
so ; but this we could not do without a violation of 
our words and honour, which we are taught in our 
nation to hold inviolable." 

From the reiterated promises of General Ampu- 
dia in Matamoras, we believed that when we reach- 
ed Mexico we would be able to negotiate terms ad- 



vantageous to our fellow-prisoners, and we gave him 
our word that we would cheerfully go there in such 
hope. Though frequent opportunities of escape 
presented themselves previous to this time, we were 
influenced not only by the word we had pledged, 
but by the ardent desire of serving with our pres- 
ence our countrymen at the capital. I know that 
no fear of consequences to myself, and I believe the 
same of Colonel Fisher, would have induced a for- 
feiture of our word. On the other hand, we did 
not believe the colonel commanding overly- anxious 
to reach the city. The daily news we met of rev- 
olution in that quarter certainly did not hurry him 
forward any. 

After we had written the above note to the colo- 
nel, we gave it to the sergeant of the guard to be 
delivered. He returned in an hour, bringing back 
the note, with an excuse for not doing so. 

March 13th. We were permitted to hire three 
worn-out pack-mules to help our party on, and start- 
ed without breakfast. Five leagues distant we were 
marched into a corral, while the officers of the regi- 
ment were eating their dinner in the buildings. We 
sent out money to purchase something to eat, and 
just as it was about to be brought in, the bugle 
sounded the march. No breakfast, and after five 
leagues' rapid march, no dinner, put us all in ill hu- 
mour : a hungry man can feel very ill ; some swore, 
while the more religious would clinch their teeth in 
silence, their dilating nostrils showing that they 


felt no better than those who gave expression to 
their feelings. As we were marched forth from our 
cow-pen, the colonel rode out of the court of the 
building immediately to our left. This was the first 
opportunity I had for delivering the letter which the 
sergeant refused to do the night previous. I passed 
through the line of guards and presented him the 
note. In the act of doing so, Dr. Shepherd said, 
" That is right, general, give it to the old scoun- 
drel :" he received it, and read but a few lines, when 
he called Mr. Van Ness to him, and asked him who 
that man was that cursed him, and to say to him 
that if he did so again he would have him shot : 
" that I am a man of but one word." The doctor 
replied, " If he wishes to shoot, let him shoot ; I am 
ready to be shot." This reply so vexed the old fel- 
low that he made an attempt to draw his sword, but 
putting it back, he rode up and struck the doctor 
upon the face, at which several of our party hallooed 
out to the doctor to give him his whip. Dr. S. told 
him that that was Mexican valour — muy valiente, 
very brave — to strike a prisoner, and that, if he was 
upon an equality of circumstances, he would not 
dare it. The colonel, who understood English well, 
seemed sensible of the rebuke, and rode off. Lan- 
guage fails me in expressing my contempt of a trans- 
action so supremely mean and cowardly — that one 
wearing the insignia of honour and bravery should 
strike his equal whose hands were tied. Two 
leagues farther brought us to Tepee, where we were 
quartered for the night. 


March 14th. Seven leagues to-day brought us 
to Guarticlan, where we were quartered, as usual, in 
a filthy apartment. 

March 15th. At 3 o'clock A.M. the bugle sound- 
ed the march, and we had seven leagues to go be- 
fore reaching Tacubaya, a small town upon an ele- 
vation in the Valley of Mexico, about four miles 
southwest of the city. At broad daylight we com- 
menced descending into the Valley of Mexico, and 
the prospect was sublimely beautiful. It looked as 
if we were entering into Elysium. With tremendous 
high mountains surrounding the valley, which is a 
basin of about thirty by sixty English miles, and laid 
off in labours, beautifully ditched, and highly cultiva- 
ted with the schinus, osiers, and other evergreens 
growing upon the ditches, and overlapping the roads 
with their luxurious foliage in every direction — with 
a magnificent city in the centre, and numerous small- 
er towns filled with spires, and scattered over the 
plain wherever the eye could reach, gave the view 
an air of enchantment, which to be enjoyed must be 
seen. When we reached the plain below, it was not 
difficult to imagine that we were on the highest 
and most choice spot upon the earth, surrounded by 
a tremendous high wall, for such is the appearance 
of the porphyritic mountain sides which surround 
the valley ; but when we looked up to the eternal 
snow-mountains of Popocatepetl and Istazihuatl far 
above us, we could as easily imagine we were far 
into the earth's cavity. However, it is not for me 


to give life to this scene. I write " with a running 
pen"* and in a tyrant's chains ; and though I may 
have viewed the ancient valley of Anahuac and the 
place of Tenochtitlan as did Humbolt, Poinsett, 
Ward, Prescott, Myer, and others, they were in bet- 
ter humour, and had more leisure to do justice to 
this classic panorama. 

Thus, after years of fond hope that peace and 
competence would enable me to visit this place, so 
celebrated as the site of aboriginal refinement in the 
New World, and more celebrated still as the place of 
the most remarkable conquests in the annals of man- 
kind, here am I a prisoner and in rags, treated with 
the contumely and cruelty of a felon, because we 
dared to war for our country, and fight her enemy 
in a manner she expected of us : thus, I say, to be 
compelled to view the city of the Montezumas — to 
be able to give but a passing glimpse at the aque- 
ducts, calzadas, and teocallis of that remarkable 
people — to glance at the bloody paths of Cortes 
and Alvarado, is what I could not have preferred. 
However, it is a tribute which some have to pay to 
liberty, and it is as well that it should have fallen 
upon us as upon better men : it is the fate of war, 
and we bear it with the fortitude of men. 

We reached the western suburbs of the city, where 
we halted a few minutes in front of a large church, 

* I should have said, with a pen running. The common application of 
the currente calamo would betray a vanity which belongs not to this hur- 
ried scribbling. 

214 the archbishop's palace. 

and purchased some bread and fruit for our break- 
fast. From this place we veered to the right, and 
fell into a road which led to Tacubaya, which 
place we reached about noon, where the regiment 
were quartered in a portion of the archbishop's pal- 
ace, which had formerly been used as a convent. 
This is an extensive building, adjoining a church, 
to which is attached a spacious enclosure of fruit- 
trees and evergreens. The portion of the building 
occupied by the regiment contained a great many 
rooms both upon the lower and upper floors, a num- 
ber of which were appropriated to the use of the 
officers and soldiers. In the centre of the building 
was an open court, surrounded by a double corridor. 
The sides of this parallelogram, both below and 
above, were covered with large-sized scriptural paint- 
ings upon canvass, representing every stage of the 
crucifixion of Christ. The artist must have been 
a Mexican, for he has mixed in several of his pieces 
a rare combination of Mexican taste. In one piece, 
for instance, after our Saviour was nailed to the 
cross, and surrounded by the unbelieving Israelites, 
he has a Jew in full ranchero's costume, mounted 
upon a bushy-maned, long-tailed mustang, spear in 
hand, charging upon him. The blood flowing from 
his side, with forgiveness upon his countenance, and 
unrelenting persecution in the surrounding multitude, 
is a melancholy sight, and enough to make Mexi- 
cans hate Jews. The gray-bearded followers of 
the cross, looking down upon us in every direction, 


admonished how perishable are the things of this 
world, while the benign and angelic beauty of the 
Holy Virgin, just above, whose eyes appeared bent 
upon our lowly couch, seemed to pity our condition. 
Just beyond, one of the fathers is blessing the young 
Messiah, whose cherub beauty, surrounded by a halo 
of glory, showed that he was coming to illume a be- 
nighted world. The effect of these numerous paint- 
ings upon a Catholic population is calculated to in- 
spire reverence for their religion : it made us Prot- 
estants feel like better men. 

In the centre of this court is a water spout, emp- 
tying an ample supply of the delicious liquid, fresh 
from the aqueduct of Chapultepec, into a large 
stone basin, around which we drank, and washed 
our faces over and again. In this open court, upon 
this brick pavement, myself and companions were 

It was but a little time before the candy-girls as- 
certained that we had money ; and being greatly 
rejoiced, as we believed that this was the termina- 
tion of our march, we luxuriated in sweet cakes and 
ice creams. Having procured a gourd full of vino 
mascal, we did not forget in our thanksgiving that, 
through the goodness of God, our distinguished coun- 
tryman, General Andrew Jackson, had this day reach- 
ed his seventy-sixth year. 

This evening Mr. Cursin, bearer of despatches 
from the government of the United States, and Cap- 
tain West, came into our quarters to see us. These 


gentlemen manifested the liveliest interest for our 
welfare. Hearing that we were approaching the 
city, they rode out on the San Christoval road sev- 
eral leagues to meet us ; but, finding we had ta- 
ken a more westerly route, they returned, and told 
us " that an order had gone forth several days from 
Santa Anna to shoot all our companions behind, 
and doubtless they would be, if they had not already 
been shot ; that President Houston had written to 
Mexico, through the British charge d'affaires in 
Texas, saying ' that though we had entered Mexi- 
co contrary to his orders, and without authority of 
law, yet he begged mercy for us ;' that our friends 
in the city thought us in imminent danger," &c. One 
less acquainted with President Houston than myself 
might have ascribed such a letter to some unaccount- 
able misapprehension or to political stupidity. But, 
knowing his undisguised malignity and cold-blooded 
vindictiveness, not only to Colonel Fisher and my- 
self, but others of the Mier prisoners, I lost not a 
moment in writing to my friends in Texas for evi- 
dence of his falsehood. I had too much respect for 
his personal and political astuteness to believe that 
he did not know what that letter would produce, 
and I knew that such official authority was the high- 
est upon which the President of Mexico could de- 
sire to act. The evidence I wrote for to Texas 
came in due season, such as not only satisfied the 
United States minister, but even Santa Anna him- 
self, of Houston's falsehood ; and, without tiring the 


reader here with a recital of this melancholy, cruel, 
bloody tragedy, I refer him to the proofs of all that 
1 have said in a correspondence published soon 
after my escape from prison in Mexico. (See Ap- 
pendix No. VI.) 

This evening William Reese visited General 
Thompson, the United States minister in Mexico, 
where this melancholy information of our prisoners 
was confirmed. The nights at this season of the 
year in Mexico are cold, and though there were 
hundreds of unoccupied rooms in this building, we 
were compelled to quarter upon the pavement in 
the open court with our thin blankets. We suffered 
much in body, but the anguish of mind was far be- 
yond all bodily sufferance. To be butchered by 
wholesale as national marauders, by the perfidious, 
horrible decree of our own President, without the 
means of proving to the world his heinous falsehood, 
was to us a mental torment far worse than death 

March 16th. Mr. Cursin, Captain West, and sev- 
eral other friends came in to see us, and brought the 
welcome intelligence that, through the remonstran- 
ces of the United States and British ministers, Pres- 
ident Santa Anna had countermanded the order for 
shooting our men. This evening I requested a 
friend living in the city to see these ministers, and 
desire them to call at our prison the next day. 

March 17th. This day we were not furnished a 
E E 


morsel to eat, and but for the little private means 
we had, should have consequently fasted. 

The reason the officer of the guard gave for not 
furnishing our usual twenty-five cents each was, 
that " he had no money." General Thompson, the 
United States minister, sent us word that " he 
thought he could be of more service by not evincing 
too great anxiety in our behalf, and that everything 
in his power should be done for us." Though we 
were thankful for General Thompson's kind feel- 
ings, yet we were mortified at his position, which 
we feared in some measure compromised the dig- 
nity of his government. Mr. Packenham, the Brit- 
ish minister, and suite came to our prison, and met 
us with the most unostentatious kindness. The 
representative of the British nation is no small char- 
acter on any portion of this globe where the needle 
has ever turned. The colonel of the regiment, who, 
since the first day of our arrival at Tacubaya, ap- 
peared in all the ununiform, gaudy foppery of the 
Mexican nation, and who paid less attention to us 
than if we had been so many animals in a menage- 
rie, when he saw the British legation in our prison, 
stood chapeau in hand, and looked as if he were in 
a superior presence. Mr. Packenham inquired for 
myself, and asked " if I desired to see him." I an- 
swered that "I did, and wished to make intercession 
through him for several English subjects, prisoners 
with us, among whom were Captain Ewin Cameron, 
Samuel C. Lyon, and others." Mr. Packenham said 


that " he would do everything in his power for these 
men, but that he feared much difficulty would inter- 
pose in this service ; that these men, though they 
were British subjects, had made their own election 
in taking up arms against Mexico, and consequently 
had subjected themselves to all the penalties of the 
laws of war," &c. I replied, that " by the encour- 
agement of the commercial policy of Great Britain, 
these men had become sojourners in Texas ; that, 
pursuing trades which their government had encour- 
aged, they had subjected themselves to the laws of 
Texas, which required all persons, citizens or so- 
journers, after a certain time, to take up arms in her 
defence. They had either to forfeit in Texas ben- 
efits which had accrued to them by their govern- 
mental policy, or submit to the lex loci where they 
were pursuing their English trades." I cited him 
the case of Samuel C. Lyon, then present. He was 
a shipmaster by profession ; his father, mother, and 
family then resided in Liverpool, and were highly 
respectable ; that, through the commercial laws and 
treaties of his country, he had been for a time in 
Texas, where he had acquired property and privi- 
leges, the fruit of his country's encouragement and 
his own industry, and that I must believe that there 
was a high obligation upon that country to protect 
and shield him ; that, had the British government not 
countenanced and encouraged this trade, he would 
not have been subject to his present imprisonment. 
Mr. Packenham asked us " how we were treated." 


I pointed to our dirty blankets upon the open pave- 
ment as our bed, and requested him to be his own 
judge. He looked indignant, and replied that, " by 
the laws of war, as officers, we were entitled to our 
parole, and doubtless it would be extended to us;" 
but that " the same laws also required, as a matter of 
security, that the soldier prisoners should be kept 
securely." He left our prison with the same kind- 
ness of manner that he had entered it, and with our 
increased good-will and respect, the gaudy fops of 
officers who had charge of us standing aside for him 
to pass. 

We have had frequent occasions to be mortified 
at the contempt in which citizens of the United 
States are held and treated abroad, and particularly 
in Mexico, when no Roman citizen in her palmiest 
days ever felt more pride and confidence in his citi- 
zenship than does at present the British subject. If 
anything is more calculated than another to lessen 
the respect and attachment for one's country, it is to 
be compelled to disown her and seek protection un- 
der another. Such, unfortunately, has too often 
been the case with citizens of the United States, 
who, speaking their mother English, and with an 
English parchment in their pockets, travel with im- 
punity by denying that they ever were in the coun- 
try which gave them life. The case of our friend 
Lieutenant C, of the Mier Expedition, is a striking 
instance. He was a citizen of New- York, and after 
his friends had in vain exhausted all their influence 


in trying to procure his liberation, his mother recol- 
lected that he was born at Halifax, " near the United 
States line," but came over when a few days old. 
This fact, made known to the English minister, pro- 
cured his immediate release. 

As I feel an abiding pride in that country which 
gave me birth, and in which are my earliest and 
dearest associations, I long to see her assume a more 
high-toned position in her intercourse with foreign 
nations. Heretofore, unfortunately, that government 
has too strictly estimated her honour by dollars and 
cents. If her flag has been insulted — if her citizens 
have been unjustly imprisoned and robbed — if her 
territory has been violated, the cost of redress is es- 
timated with that cold, calculating, mathematical 
code so unworthy a great nation. Like some nor- 
thern people when their wives or daughters have 
been violated, they send the case before a jury, who 
estimate their honour as a butcher would a pound of 
meat in market. If the meat be choice, the price is 
proportionately high, and vice versa if the article is 
poor. We feel no hesitation in believing that the 
honour of wives and daughters is in far better keep- 
ing in a thimble full of powder and one ounce of 
lead, and so, likewise, is the same conservative prin- 
ciple equally applicable to national honour. 

To-day we were visited by several friends, who 
informed us they learned that on to-morrow we 
would be removed into the city ; the officer of the 
guard also informed us the same ; and I have reason 


to believe that such was the intention of the govern- 
ment, until Mr. Packenham visited us, and it was 
ascertained that much interest was manifested by 
the foreigners on our account. Then we were sud- 
denly hurried off to a remote, and, as the govern- 
ment believed, an impregnable fortress. We had 
the precaution to send our original " articles of ca- 
pitulation," signed by General Ampudia at Mier, to 
the American minister for safe keeping, with a re- 
quest that he would furnish a copy to the minister 
at war. After the most unnecessarily wanton and 
savage treatment of us by Colonel Terris, of the 
fourth regiment of infantry, we represented it to the 
minister at war, and, from the continued favour 
which we learn has been extended to him, he seems 
to have received the thanks rather than the rebuke 
of his government therefor. What a commentary 
upon a government which in every breath speaks 
of its honour, integrity, and magnanimity I The 
days of that nation must be numbered whose u pu- 
nica fides" enters into her most sacred obligations. 

Having the privilege of going to the comun, which 
is in the second story, we ascended to the azotea of 
the palace, from which we had a splendid view of 
the city, Chapultepec, the snow-capped volcanoes 
of Popocatepetl and Istazihuatl, and the whole 
valley below, and a more charming landscape does 
not exist. 




Marched on Foot. — General Valencia, Wife, and Daughters. — Our Re- 
flections. — Hire Asses. — Pulque-drinking Officer. — Pass the Volcanoes. 
— Germans. — National Character of the Germans and other Foreigners. 
— Puebla. — Bad Treatment. — Lieutenant Velarde. — New Officer. — 
The Execution of General Mexier. — Acahita. — The Death of Mexier. 
— Texian Talent for Drawing. — The Honest Mexican. — Arrival at Pe- 
rote. — Meeting our Countrymen Prisoners. 

March 18th. At ten o'clock A.M., when we 
were in momentary expectation of orders to march 
to the city, a company of cavalry rode up, and the 
officer ordered us to bundle up our blankets to 
march to the Castle of Perote, one hundred and 
sixty miles east from the capital. We were told we 
would be furnished no horses, mules, or asses. We 
asked if we could have the privilege of hiring some 
to pack our blankets and sheepskins upon, and was 
bluntly answered " there were none to hire." Up 
to the moment of starting we had been told by our 
officer that General Valencia and family would be 
out to see us that day ; and having learned that they 
had greatly interested themselves the year previous 
for our Santa Fe prisoners, we felt flattered at this 
information. How suddenly our fond expectation 
was changed ! In a few minutes each of us had to 
roll up his dirty blanket and sheepskin, take them 
under his arm, and march down the street with a 


file of mounted lancers on each hand. We had 
proceeded but a few hundred yards when we met 
the splendid equipage — a Parisian coach and United 
States horses — of General Valencia, with himself, 
wife, and daughters. They were, in fact, as our of- 
ficer informed us, upon a visit to the archbishop, it 
being some important saint-day. 

From the manner in which they noticed us in 
passing, they seemed to know that we were Tex- 
ians. This they may have easily inferred, both from 
our national costume — for we were too national to 
wear anything after Mexican fashion when we 
could avoid it — and also from our national up-head 
appearance. Freemen carry their heads higher 
than subjects, their hearts swell larger, and they are 
infinitely more proud. 

Just at this time, when we met these beautiful 
young ladies — and they were of as fair complexion, 
dressed as fashionably, and looked as well as the 
best of our country — we felt all the elements of dis- 
gust, contempt, and bitter hostility for a nation so 
regardless of the obligations of truth and good faith. 
We now ascertained to our satisfaction that Gen- 
eral Ampudia's reiterated and gratuitous promises 
to us were either made in bad faith, or that they had 
been wholly disregarded by his government ; and 
when we passed these young ladies, whatever may 
have been our appearance, we felt like freemen, 
John Rodgers at the stake could not have felt 
more independent : we gave them a soldier's salute. 


and staggered on with our sheepskin bundles. Thus 
we trudged on half a -mile farther, when the heart 
of our officer melted within him. He met a miser- 
able leper v, leading a still more miserable mule, and 
permitted us to give four prices for the privilege of 
packing our bundles upon the poor animal. 

Our road now lay east, and we had to pass through 
the southern suburbs of the city. In coming to Tac- 
ubaya we passed through the northern and west- 
ern confines of the city, and now we were making 
almost a circle around it to reach the great stage- 
road leading to Puebla. When we reached the 
southern suburb we met some Peons with a num- 
ber of burros, asses, returning from the city, where 
they had been packing charcoal to market. Our 
officer here discharged the leper o and his mule, and 
allowed us to hire some burros. 

In Mexico they have but few wheel carriages, 
and everything is transported upon the backs of an- 
imals. In every part of the country we met im- 
mense numbers of mules and asses packed with ev- 
ery species of goods which constitutes the com- 
merce of the country. The mules are usually fine. 
The best I have ever seen, either in Mexico or the 
United States, are the pack-mules between the cap- 
ital and Vera Cruz ; and what surprised us is, that 
both the horses and asses which produce them are 
small. The asses particularly are small ; we do 
not recollect to have seen one which would have 
been considered a second-rate animal in Kentucky. 



Those used for packing by the poorer class of peo- 
ple are usually about the size of a badly-raised year- 
ling of the cow kind. These small woolly animals, 
with hair usually as long as one's finger, and tre- 
mendous large bodies, and having no bridles, an 
aparejo, a kind of pack-saddle upon which is pack- 
ed all kinds of produce, wood, charcoal, fodder- 
stacks, &c, are driven to market in large droves. 
When the produce is disposed of, these droves of 
animals are driven home by the arriero, muleteers. 

The aparejo is a large sack, made of the fibres of 
the maguey, and stuffed with straw, and when lash- 
ed upon the burro, is broad and flat upon the top — 
too much so to straddle. When mounted, we sat 
with our feet forward of the sack, like boys going 
to mill; and all the eloquence of our English was 
lost upon the long- eared brutes, for they would nei- 
ther turn to the right or left, or quicken their pace, 
but huddle together as close as the sacks would 
allow, thereby giving us the better opportunity of 
cracking our jokes. When one would lag behind, 
the only persuasion he was sensible to was a sharp- 
pointed stick a few inches long, with which we 
would prick him just above his tail; this would 
drive him forward into a little shuffling pace to over- 
take his company. 

We had gone but a few miles when our officer 
discharged this arriero and his asses, and coming 
across a fresh drove, permitted us to hire others at 
double price. Thus were we swindled three times 
this day in donkey-hire. 


This officer was an ignorant man, with a face as 
red as cochineal, and exceedingly fond of pulque. 
In passing a pulque woman, we had only to flatter 
this lieutenant with the title of Capitan, point to the 
pulque, crook our elbow, turn our little finger over 
the thumb, give him, at the same time, a nod of the 
head, with a confidential kind of a wink, and he al- 
ways drew up his horse with, Bueno, serior — enough 
said, sir. Our funny asses and exhilarating pulque 
put us all in better humour. We spoke of the beau- 
tiful Misses Valencias ; we agreed that they were as 
white, dressed as fine, and looked as well as the best 
in the white settlements ; and all said, " What a pity 
it is that such splendid-looking ladies should live in 
such a vile community!" This conclusion brought 
us to the eight-league stand, where we were quarter- 
ed for the night 

March 19th. Early this morning the officer had 
stopped an unladen drove of pack-mules going in 
our direction, and gave us all the privilege of riding 
this day at fifty cents each, though our ration was 
only twenty-five cents. To-day we crossed the 
mountain, leaving the volcanoes Popocatepetl and 
Istazihuatl to our right, and descended into a deep 
cove to a stage-stand, called Rio Frio, ten leagues 
where we were halted for the night. The stage- 
house here is kept by a kind-hearted Frenchman 
and lady, who gave us supper at a low price, and 
the good woman divided all her husband's old clothes 
among our more destitute comrades. Here we met 


an unpretending, whole-souled German, a blacksmith 
by trade, who insisted upon giving us all his clothes 
except what he had on ; and when our pulque-drink- 
ing officer refused to let us have more than one gourd 
full of vino mascal, because, he said, it would make 
Texians very dangerous, our German friend told him 
" he was a fool ; that Texians had stronger heads, 
and could drink ten times as much as Mexicans, and 
still be men." This German philosophy procured 
us the second and third gourd full of the ethereal 
liquid, and all hands went to sleep praising the Dutch 

Of all nations, we found the Germans the most 
devoted to the interest of their fellow-countrymen 
in prison ; next to them, the Scotch ; next, the Eng- 
lish; and last, our own Yankee nation. Mortifying 
as this acknowledgment is where my countrymen 
are concerned, truth requires me to say it. It is 
true, that in some instances we have met a whole- 
souled countryman, both from the north and south 
of our Republic, who would not only share with us 
his purse, but his blood. Such countrymen, though 
few, live in Mexico, and we regret most sincerely 
that we would do them a disservice by specifying 
their generosity ; but, on the other hand, the bulk 
of our countrymen found abroad, and especially in 
that country, are a cold, calculating race ; they go 
abroad for the purpose of accumulation ; they have 
no sentiment, beyond such miserable lucre, and they 
would permit a countryman to starve in a foreign 


dungeon just as they would at their own doors. 
The German does not wait to make the per- 
sonal acquaintance of his oppressed countrymen : 
he asks their number in distress — feeds and clothes 
them, to the credit of their nation. Thus will also 
a Scotchman and Englishman do. We found many 
generous Frenchmen, though we had but few French 
prisoners. The old proverb, "When you cannot say 
anything good of your household, to say nothing," 
prevents me from instancing several of the most su- 
perlative meannesses of our countrymen. 

March 20th. This morning we procured some 
of the most miserable burros we have seen, and 
eight leagues brought us to San Martin, a consider- 
able village in a broad, cultivated, and well-watered 
plain. At this place our red-faced officer and guard 
returned to the capital, and we were turned over, 
March 21st, to two lieutenants; the oldest long, lean, 
and lank — a dyspeptic-looking man, who appeared 
always hungry — a fine specimen of ill nature and 
low breeding ; the other quite a youth, but evident- 
ly the son of a gentleman : he was well bred, and 
exceedingly civil. They guarded us to Puebla, a 
large city ninety miles from the capital. This day 
we marched eight leagues, and were quartered in a 
horribly filthy room in a cavalry barracks. We 
asked our long lieutenant to "have the filth remo- 
ved from our room — that we would pay the soldiers 
for so doing ;" he replied in the most contemptuous 
manner to our request, when an exceedingly genteel 


officer came up and offered his services to us. He 
ordered the room to be policed, and desired to be 
useful to us. We could not fail to inquire the name 
of an officer capable of such unexpected and unso- 
licited kindness, and learned that he was Lieutenant 
Velarde, and was much pleased to find that he spoke 
English. He apologized in a handsome manner for 
the want of civility of some of their officers, and 
said that " they had never travelled out of Mexico, 
and knew little of the customs of other countries." 
March 22d, we were placed under charge of a 
lieutenant and troop of cavalry. This officer was 
the most perfect savage we have before or since 
met. He was of middle size, and apparently about 
thirty-five years of age, with a sombre countenance, 
shrill, cracked voice, and eyes red with the dreams 
of his bloody deeds. His name I failed to procure, 
but understood that he was the sergeant who com- 
manded the firing-party that shot the brave and 
lamented General Mexier, and for which act Santa 
Anna had promoted him to his present commission. 
His very gait and look bespoke assassination ; he 
was the very impersonation of a murderer. Soon 
after daylight we were ordered by him to pack up 
and start. He refused to let us hire even a pack- 
mule, and we had, consequently, to leave some of 
our luggage. We were marched through the city, 
and attracted as much attention as if we had been 
a caravan of monkeys. One of our prisoners, Daniel 
D. Henrie, was exceedingly ill, and he was thrown 


upon a mule with as little ceremony as if he had 
been a package of goods. With great difficulty he 
made out to hold on to the mane of the animal for 
two miles, and in the act of falling was caught and 
laid upon the ground. I told the officer it was im- 
possible to carry him in that condition, when he 
replied, " Let him die, then !" The word die had 
no pleasant sound to our friend Dan, who was not 
so far gone but that he knew its meaning, and after 
giving him water, we lifted him upon the mule, and 
one walking on each side to hold him on, we pro- 
ceeded on our march. 

At three leagues this officer stopped with his 
woman, who was accompanying him in a coach 
drawn by eight mules, to breakfast. He refused for 
us even to have pulque; "for," said he, "it will get 
in your heads, and then the devil will be to pay." At 
this place we hired some miserable poor burros; and 
Captain Reese, being mounted upon the most indif- 
ferent, was pricking it up with a sharp stick, when 
the owner came up, and attempted forcibly to take 
the stick from him. The captain drew back and 
threatened to give it to him, when our red-eyed 
brute of an officer rode up, and threatened to run 
Reese through with his sword if he struck him. 
Our only satisfaction was to curse him in the best 
of our poor Spanish. This night we reached the 
small town of Acahita, at nine leagues, where Santa 
Anna defeated and shot the brave General Mexier. 

We cannot pass over a spot so sacred to liberty 


without paying some small tribute to the memory 
of this deceased patriot. 

General Mexier was strongly devoted to the lib- 
erty of his country, and, being one of the firmest 
adherents to the free Constitution of 1824, was ban- 
ished the country by Santa Anna, and sought an 
asylum in the United States, where he remained 
several months. In the year 1835 he raised an ex- 
pedition in New-Orleans, and made a descent upon 
Tampico, where he was defeated, losing a consid- 
erable portion of his force in killed and prisoners. 
Twenty-seven of these unfortunate prisoners were 
afterward shot by order of Santa Anna. General 
Mexier escaped the misfortunes of the day, and 
again reached New-Orleans. Subsequently he sail- 
ed with more success against Tampico, that place 
declaring for the Constitution of 1824. At this time 
the Governor of Puebla invited him to join forces 
and move against the capital. This treachery was 
concocted between Santa Anna and the latter; and 
when Mexier reached the mountain pass, a short 
distance from this spot, he found Santa Anna and 
his legions to oppose him. He made a determined 
resistance, but at length had to yield to superior 
numbers. Santa Anna offered him his life, provided 
he would swear allegiance to his central despotism. 
His answer was worthy of Leonidas himself: "No, 
sir," said he; "I will oppose you as long as I have 
an arm to strike for liberty." Thus fell this brave 
man, whose history I learned from an intelligent 


United States citizen who had travelled subsequent- 
ly in Mexico. 

We were hungry and tired, and sent out to a me- 
son to purchase supper, which was contracted for at 
twenty-five cents each for sixteen. After much de- 
lay it was brought into our prison, about enough for 
three hungry men, and from the whispering consulta- 
tions between our red-eyed officer, it was clear that 
he divided our four dollars with the sutler. 

Upon the walls of our prison-room we found in- 
scribed many names of our countrymen, who had 
preceded us in the Santa Fe Expedition. In this, as 
well as in many other prisons upon our long march, 
we amused ourselves at our countrymen's genius for 
drawing. The " magnanimous nation" suffered when- 
ever they could procure a piece of charcoal and a 
white wall. In all the caricatures the tyrant Santa 
Anna had a conspicuous place. At one time they 
had him crouched in a Texas prairie, hiding from 
the sons of freedom ; at another they had him upon 
his knees, yielding up his sword with a most peni- 
tential phiz ; and again they had him stalking forth 
upon his wooden leg, under a chapeau extremely lu- 
dicrous from its immense size, with a huge sword, 
dictating laws to his enslaved countrymen. 

March 23d. This morning our assassin-looking 
officer had us badly swindled in the hire of some 
poverty-stricken hurras, she asses. Our friend, Dr. 
Shepherd, happened to get the most fiery of these 
animals, which seemed to be known to our guards ; 



and when he was mounted upon the aparejo, with- 
out stirrups or bridle, and not suspecting any trick, 
one of the fellows speared the animal behind, which, 
with a sudden flirt, landed the doctor in the dust, 
much to the amusement of his comrades. He jump- 
ed up and made towards the fellow, evidently with 
the intention of striking him, who drew out of his 
reach ; and though our brutal officer saw the whole 
transaction, he ordered the cavalry man to run him 
through with his spear if he touched him. We were 
halted for the night at a small village, having made 
seven leagues. 

March 24th. This day we were marched ten 
leagues to a small town, and placed under charge of 
a tall, dark-looking officer, who treated us with much 
kindness. Here my companions had a hearty laugh 
at my expense. We sent out our orderly to purchase 
something to eat : the fellow had hardly turned his 
back before the sentinel at the door of our prison 
told us that that fellow was a noted rogue ; that he 
would cheat us of the best half of our money ; that 
it was a great pity the Mexican officers allowed us 
gentlemen prisoners to be so swindled ; that in a few 
minutes his tour of guard service would be over, 
when it would give him pleasure to wait upon us ; 
and that he would see we had the full benefit of our 
purchase. This fellow also told us he had been in 
the United States, and knew the difference between 
a gentleman and apillo. During this speech, the fel- 
low looked so very like an honest man that I hand- 


ed him two bits as a premium for his honesty, he 
being the first honest soldier I had seen during my 
long march in Mexico. All my companions rejoiced 
in the opportunity of having an " honest man" to buy 
their food, gave him their extra bits, and this was 
the last we ever saw of the money or the fellow. 

March 25th. We had five leagues this day to 
march before reaching the Castle of Perote. Upon 
our arrival at the village of Perote, in looking north 
about one mile we could see the massive walls of the 
castle, with its numerous portholes and dark-mouthed 
artillery. The great extent of ground covered by 
the castle wall and the earthen embankment around 
the outer " chevaux de frize" gave this fortification a 
low appearance, and, at first sight, we were not 
struck with the magnitude of its strength. Upon 
nearer approach, in making our way through its 
winding entrance, and across the drawbridge over 
the great moat, thence through an archway into the 
great plaza, fronting the governor's quarters, amid 
the bugle's blast and the roll of drums, the din of 
arms and the clank of chains opened our eyes to 
the reality of imprisonment, and showed us what 
abler pens than mine have described as the most ap- 
proved fortification of the eighteenth century. Here 
we met, in rags and chains, fifty of our countrymen, 
who had been kidnapped from their homes in Texas, 
the September previous, by General Woll. There 
is a mutual sympathy in misery : we met as brothers, 
and I hope and believe we shall live and die as such. 




Three Days' Grace before Ironed. — The Castle. — Its Strength. — Pres- 
ident Houston. — Orazabo. — Cofre de Perote. — Castle. — Its Situation. — 
Climate. — Description. — Bexar Prisoners. — Mexican Culprits. — Theft. 
— Rape. — Murder. — The Prisoner who killed a Priest for kissing his 
Wife. — Prisons of the Mier Men. — Their Treatment. — Ironed. — Mode 
of breaking off the Chains. — Tricking the Officers. — Santa Anna and 
the Blacksmith. — " Can't come it, Judge !" — Rations.— Ass's Milk. — 
Our Mess. — Cooking. — Best Way to make Coffee. — Ordered to Work. 
— Remonstrance to Minister of War. — To the Governor. — To the Uni- 
ted States Minister. — Release of Judges Jones, Hutchinson, and Mav- 
erick. — Treason of Robinson : our Denunciation of — Anniversary of 
the 21st of April. — Sentiments, Songs, Tecolote, and Old Guts. 

There is a mockery in many things in Mexico, 
and now there was a mock mercy by way of three 
days' grace extended to us before our chains were 
riveted. During these three days we had the priv- 
ilege of walking about in certain parts of the castle 
in the daytime, estimating its capacity, military 
strength, &c. We made in our minds many esti- 
mates, and, after all, came to the conclusion that, 
though this was one of the strongest places in the 
world before the improvement of the combustible 
shot, and though it reflected great credit upon the 
military genius of the last century, yet if Captain 
Stockton or John C. Stevens were to be placed 
upon a certain mountain elevation about two miles 
distant, with a few " peace-makers" pouring into it 
their death-dealing fulminators, these fellows would 


run out of this place as soon as hot water would 
drive rats from their holes. However, public ex- 
pectation requires a more particular description of 
a place so celebrated in the history of the Mexican 
Revolution, and still more so from its being the 
prison-house of the best spirits of our country, 
where, through the cold neglect and vindictive ha- 
tred of their own president, they were permitted to 
dwindle out a miserable existence in chains and 
slavery, in rags and hunger. 

Upon the north of this fortification, in the bottom 
of the great ditch which surrounds the castle, lie the 
mortal remains of many of the best men of our 
country, cut off in the prime of life, through their 
country's ingratitude and neglect. No ! let me not 
do their country injustice ; that country, when we 
speak of her citizens, has always been ready, will- 
ing, and able to supply their wants as well as to 
avenge their wrongs; but this generous spirit has 
been too fatally repressed by the injurious influence 
of the executive chief, reducing their country to 
beggary. Forbearing as are the people of Texas 
under the wrongs and usurpations of that execu- 
tive, they yet possess the moral elements, as well as 
the physical power of self-government; and if much 
forbearance heretofore has marked their political 
career, it has been because they believed it better to 
suffer a while the evils that time and their invincible 
courage could alone redress. 

The mariner, in approaching the Mexican coast 


of Vera Cruz, is struck with the sublime magnifi- 
cence of the Volcano of Orazabo, with its regular 
conical peak covered with perpetual snow, long be- 
fore he can see the lower lands. Though this 
mountain is one hundred miles from the coast, yet 
so high and imposing is its appearance, it looks to 
be in the immediate neighbourhood. When at sea, 
off Vera Cruz, in casting the eye northward, the next 
most imposing peak is the Cofre de Perote (Trunk 
of Perote), so called from the rock upon its extreme 
summit having the appearance of a trunk. This 
peak, though frequently covered with snow, is not 
perpetually snow-capped. At the foot of this mount- 
ain, upon its north, and in a narrow valley, which 
separates it from another high mountain still north, 
is situated the Castle of Perote. Though it is built 
in a valley, apparently low from the extreme height 
of the adjacent mountains, yet it is about seven 
thousand feet above the level of the sea. Its con- 
tiguity to the snow mountains, its altitude, its posi- 
tion, such as the sun cannot reach but a few hours 
in the day, all render it an extremely cold place. 
The castle adjoining this mountain pass, as you 
ascend from the tierras calientes, the hot lands, has 
ever been the stronghold in Mexico of despotism or 
liberty, according to the whims of its inmates. The 
range of its artillery, bounded by the " Trunk of Pe- 
rote" south, and the Mount of Pizzaro north, occu- 
pies one of the principal doors to the capital. 

The castle is built principally of the volcanic 


pumice stone, a dark, honeycombed cinder, which 
was, when first emitted from the volcanoes, in a 
state of solution by heat, but which has since be- 
come of such an extremely hard character that it 
will yield only by degrees to the hardest steel. The 
opposite plate is a ground-plan of the fortification, 
drawn from recollection; and though it may not be 
mathematically correct in all its proportions, it will 
give the reader a better idea of it. The main wall 
of the fortification is an equilateral quadrangle of 
about eight hundred feet on the insides, and about 
sixty feet from the top of the wall to the bottom of 
the great moat on the outworks. At each corner 
of the main rampart there is a bastion, extending 
outward, whose sides form an obtuse angle to the 
main wall, so that all points of the circle may be 
defended by guns bearing directly upon the point 
assailed. Around the main wall and bastions there 
is a moat, about twenty feet deep and two hundred 
wide. On the outside of the moat is a stone wall, 
while the main wall of the castle forms its inner 
side. About fifty feet beyond the outer wall of the 
moat is a chevaux de frize, built of squared cedar 
timbers twelve feet long, set upright in the ground : 
these are mortised through a longitudinal timber 
passing half their length. On the outside of this 
chevaux de frize is a ditch of about fourteen feet in 
width, the outer embankment of which is elevated 
so as to reach nearly to its top. The entire works 
inside of this ditch are said to contain twenty-six 
acres of land. 


From the bottom of the moat to the top of the 
principal rampart the height is about sixty feet, upon 
which is mounted about eighty pieces of artillery, 
upon a flat roof seventy feet wide by the whole ex- 
tent of the wall. This flat roof is supported by 
arches, adjoining each other, twenty feet wide by 
seventy in length, and each one opening with a 
door upon the inside of the castle. These arches, 
adjoining each other and extending entirely around 
the square, constitute the workshops, storerooms, 
and cells of the prisoners. These cells are regu- 
larly numbered, and when the castle was completed 
in 1773, Ferdinando VII. was inscribed over each 
door in large letters. The ruthless hand of revolu- 
tion has run the paint-brush over the name, though 
it is yet discernible through the painting. Upon the 
inner side, and at each angle of the fortification, is 
a broad stairway ascending to the top. These 
stairways are secured by strong wooden gates about 
twelve feet high. 

Upon the inside of this fortification, and sixty 
feet between, is another range of square buildings, 
two stories high, the upper apartments of which are 
used as officers' quarters, soldiers' barracks, &c. This 
building opens upon a centre court, which is reserv- 
ed for the military parade. The courtyard is about 
five hundred feet square, paved with cement, under- 
neath which is an immense water-tank, containing 
many millions of gallons, supplied by a subterrane- 
an stream of w r ater as pure as ever flowed from the 


mountains: connected with this great water-tank are 
gates, by which, we were told, the moat may be flood- 
ed at the shortest notice. These works were the la- 
bour of many years ; they cost many millions of dol- 
lars ; and had not the improvement in the combusti- 
ble shot formed a new era in the science of war, it 
would have been impregnable to assault. 

We found our countrymen of Bexar occupying 
two of these long, narrow, dark archways, adjoin- 
ing each other, in the eastern rampart of the castle. 
These arched cells are twenty feet wide by seventy 
long, with a door opening upon the inner side of 
the castle, and a loophole at the extreme end of 
the room, four by twelve inches, and widening 
through a wall eight feet thick to about two feet 
on the inside. When the doors are closed, which 
usually takes place at six o'clock in the evening, the 
prisoners are counted, and a sentinel placed at each 
door. The only ray of light admitted into this dark 
abode from without is through the loophole and a 
narrow grating over the door. The archways over 
head are fifteen feet thick, which support the ar- 
tillery, underneath which are subterranean water- 
works, magazines, &c. 

Upon the left of our Bexar friends, the adjoining 
rooms were occupied by their own Mexican chain- 
gang, a large number of convicts condemned to dif- 
ferent terms of service for every species of crime. 
One of these fellows boasted that "it was the fourth 
time he had been imprisoned for rape, and it would 



not be the last." Another, clapping his hand upon 
his breast, said, in the proudest tone, " I am no la- 
dron (thief) ; I am placed here for murder." In 
Mexico they think murder more honourable than 
petit larceny, though a large majority of them would 
steal the value of a pin. The most genteel man 
among these illustrious convicts was in for killing a 
priest who was caught kissing his wife. This fel- 
low I often pitied : he had been in good circum- 
stances, but in killing a priest, such was the influ- 
ence of the Church that all his money could not 
save him. He was brought there after our arrival, 
and his wife followed him to prison with a devotion 
not uncommon among Mexican women. He was 
a tall, graceful man, about thirty-five years of age, 
and his keen black eye and Roman nose bespoke 
a temper fierce as a lion : nor did they belie him. 
His first act in chains was to beat one of the turn- 
keys severely for treating him as if he were merely 
a common prisoner. Almost without exception, 
these culprits are sunk so low in human degrada- 
tion, that even an outline of their crimes and modes 
of life would be incredible to those who had never 
been an inmate of a Mexican prison.* 

* Mr. Myer, in his late work upon Mexico, gives the following graphic 
description of the " Accordada," one of the public prisons in Mexico, 
where a portion of our prisoners were confined : " Passing through," 
says he, " several iron and wood barred gates, you enter a lofty corri- 
dor, running around a quadrangular courtyard, in the centre of which 
beneath is a fountain of troubled water. The whole of this area is filled 
with human beings — the great congress of Mexican crime, mixed and 


In the next room, and to the right of our Bexar 
prisoners, myself and fifteen companions of the Mier 
men were lodged. At 6 o'clock in the evening, all 
the prisoners were counted and turned into their 
respective cells, where they remained until 6 the 
next morning, when the doors were again opened. 
At 9 o'clock we were, as usual, counted, and turned 
over to the new officer of the guard, at which time 
our men were made first to take the filth out of the 
castle in handbarrows, and after that to pack in 
stone and sand to repair the fortification. The 
stone they had to pack from over a mile and a half 
from the mountain ; the sand a shorter distance. 
In the performance of this labour, our men, being 
chained in pairs by the ankle with large log chains, 
and only about four feet between them, had to walk 

mingling, like a hill of busy ants swarming from their sandy caverns. 
Some are stripped and bathing in the fountain ; some are fighting in a 
corner ; some making baskets in another. In one place, a crowd is gath- 
ered around a witty story-teller, relating the adventures of his rascally 
life. In another, a group is engaged in weaving with a handloom. Rob- 
bers, murderers, thieves, ravishers, felons of every description, and vag- 
abonds of every aspect, are crammed within this courtyard ; and, almost 
free from discipline or moral restraint, form, perhaps, the most splendid 
school of misdemeanor and villany on the American Continent." Mr, 
M. adds, " I did not see the prison for the women, but I am told it is 
much the same as the one I have just described." 

In this prison was confined for more than two years our patriotic fel- 
low-citizen, Colonel Antonio Navarro. When this gentleman was visited 
by Mr. George Van Ness, he assured Mr. V. that he never left the small 
apartment which, by courtesy of the officers, he was permitted to occu- 
py, for fear that these horrid wretches would commit upon his person a 
most unnatural crime, common among themselves, but never heard of 
among the English or their descendants, and too execrable here to be 


very close together, and on each hand was a file of 
guards with fixed bayonets to keep them in order. 

At nine o'clock of the fourth day after our incar- 
ceration, the Mier men were ordered to stand aside 
to receive their chains, a full ton of which had been 
brought out and laid in a heap, with a correspond- 
ing quantity of cumbrous, rudely-made clevises to fit 
around the ankles. Here stood the fat old officer in 
charge, a Captain Gozeman, who, from the immense 
protuberance of his abdominal region, our boys dub- 
bed " Old Guts." This genius was exceedingly civ- 
il at times. He desired Fisher and myself to make 
choice of our chain. In fact, there was no choice 
between them, the lightest weighing about twen- 
ty pounds ; and even if there had been any differ- 
ence, neither of us was in a temper to make the 
choice. I felt that placing those irons upon me 
would make Mexico greatly my debtor, which some 
day I would cancel with a most usurious per cent- 
age. We held forth our feet, the one a right, and 
the other a left foot, and the son of Vulcan rivet- 
ed us together as though we had been a pair of 
unbroken oxen just being introduced to the yoke. 
It is the habit of soldiers, in walking together, to step 
at the same time with their right foot, and then with 
their left. These chains subverted this well-estab- 
lished and strictly-observed custom, for one being 
chained by the right, and the other by the left ankle, 
those even and odd had to move together, or they 
would pay the penalty by a severe jerk. Colonel 


Fisher and myself being first ironed, we laughed at 
the "jewelry," as the boys called the chains, but it 
was the laugh of a consuming vengeance. We 
thought, with King Lear's fool, that these were 
" cruel garters ! Horses are tied by the heads, dogs 
and bears by the neck, monkeys by the loins, and 
men by the legs." We started to our cells, but the 
inconvenience of being coupled so closely together, 
and our un-Siamese locomotion, determined us to 
separate, and, upon reaching our apartment, we look- 
ed out for the means of breaking so large a chain. 
Texians are a most ingenious people, and are usu- 
ally equal to the emergency. We soon found means 
to accomplish our purpose. 

In our prison-room lay a loose stone, about one 
foot across, on one side of which it was slightly 
concave. In the room we also found a six-pound 
cannon-shot. We sat flat upon the floor, with the 
stone in our laps, the concave side up, and covered 
with a blanket as a non-conductor of sound, to pre- 
vent the alarm of the sentinel at the door ; then 
placing the middle link of the chain across the con- 
cave surface of the stone, and another fold of blank- 
et over the link, we commenced hammering upon 
it until it came to fit the stone, turning it over and 
beating it back until it also fitted the other side, and 
thus, after twenty turnings of the link, it parted, 
leaving each about five feet of chain. When we 
had occasion to leave our apartment, we would take 
the broken ends of the chain in the same hand, and 


walk past the officer with the same indifference of 
manner as though the chain were not parted. 

Our companions, in turn, were all ironed, and 
many were the devices they resorted to in order to 
free themselves from their chains when not in the 
presence of the officers. In that horribly cold place, 
sleeping upon the cold pavement, and with the still 
colder iron for your bedfellow, is no very enviable 
situation. Some would bribe the blacksmith to 
make them leaden instead of iron rivets, which, 
when blackened with charcoal, had much the ap- 
pearance of iron, while they could be easily ta- 
ken out or reheaded. One medio would buy a 
leaden rivet ; and for some time this ruse was prac- 
tised. Frequently, however, when the officers would 
suddenly enter our cells, they would find our com- 
rades without chains, and as suddenly every fellow 
would jump to his "jewelry," and clamp it on with 
a magic celerity which entirely bewildered the senses 
of the officers, and then as suddenly put on a de- 
mure, inoffensive countenance, after the manner of 
schoolboys catting up their juvenile antics upon the 
sudden appearance of the pedagogue. Our old 
friend with the large corporation, after much fretting 
about our not wearing the "jewelry," told the gov- 
ernor "that it would require as many blacksmiths to 
keep us ironed as there were Texians in the castle." 

One of our companions, who belonged to the 
Sante Fe prisoners, the year previous told us a sim- 
ilar anecdote, which then happened in the city of 

" can't come it, judge." 247 

Mexico. Santa Anna sent for the blacksmith, and 
gave him a severe scolding for not keeping the 
chains on the prisoners. The poor smith, trembling 
with fear in his mighty presence, replied, " I know 
not how it is, sire ; I place the best and largest irons 
upon them, but no sooner do I turn my head than 
the irons will be laying upon the ground, and they 
will do 'just so at me : they surely must be kin to 
the devil." 

What the poor smith meant by "just so," in which 
he suited the action to the word, was the "you-carit- 
come-it- Judge' '-motion — a la Kendall. This motion 
is performed in the following scientific manner, to 
wit : place the extreme end of the thumb on the tip 
of your nose ; then lock the little finger of your left 
hand into the thumb of your right, and with the four 
digits of the said right, give a quivering motion, as 
if you were performing upon the piano variations to 
the Battle of Prague ; give a comical wink, and pro- 
nounce the talismanic words, " You can't come it, 
Judge" and you have it. This is what the Mexi- 
cans cannot comprehend; and you see them fre- 
quently practising it at one another with as imper- 
fect a knowledge of its meaning as a Texian has of 
the rationale of animal magnetism. 

Respecting our rations, they were such, even with- 
out labour, as would hardly have kept soul and body 
together. We fortunately had a small balance of 
funds still by us, which had been so kindly furnish- 
ed us by our friend J. P. Schatzell, and Mr. Marks, 


the United States vice consul in Matamoras. So 
long as it lasted, our room-mates made out pretty 
well. A medio each of lard, onions, and red pepper, 
cut fine, put into our rations of poor beef, and re- 
cooked over a small earthen stove of charcoal, made 
quite a savoury meal for several. We also purchased 
sugar and coffee, and every day, at twelve o'clock, 
from the milkman, a gallon of leche de hurra, ass's 
milk. When we had the means, all of our mess 
took a hand at cooking. Our old sailing-master, 
Lyon, did the outdoor catering, browned the coffee, 
and superintended its grinding. A soldier's wife 
would grind it upon a flat stone, for which she 
would receive toll. Daniel Drake Henrie, of whom 
we shall have to speak more hereafter, usually called 
Dan, for short, sat upon the stone with a small In- 
dian fan, and blew the coals, while he sung "Long, 
long ago," and the " Soldiers Tear" Colonel Fisher 
would hash up the meat; Captain Reese would 
stand by Dan, spoon in hand, and stir the milk, to 
keep it from boiling over ; Lieutenant Clark would 
beat up the peppers and peel the potatoes, while I 
would cut up the onions and mix in the condiments. 
After frequent tastings, when I would pronounce the 
thing right, all hands agreed that "this was the very 
best dish we had yet cooked." Thus a keen appe- 
tite made each last dish the best. Each of the mess, 
like artisans in a pin factory, had his separate office 
to fulfil, but the fulfilling of that office depended 
upon his first washing his hands ; for as yet we 


were not so accustomed to the voracity of the ver- 
min as not to make war upon them. 

The hurra's milk is very far superior in richness 
to that of either cow or goat; and the following re- 
cipe will make better coffee than was ever made in 
any other manner by the best cooks in Paris : 

Take one pint of ground coffee, after being well 
browned, and not ground too fine ; mix it up with 
the white of two hen's eggs, to which add two 
quarts of good water, and enough loaf sugar to make 
it as sweet as desirable ; boil this fifteen minutes ; to 
which add, after boiling it long enough to take off 
the " long-eared" smell, two quarts of ass's milk : 
take care that the milk does not burn. 

This beverage, prepared in this manner, is so de- 
licious, that the most fastidious will forget the f long- 
eared," comico gravity of the animal which produces 
it : for our countrymen, Colquhoun and Bradley, 
both Virginian epicures in coffee-drinking, pro- 
nounced it better than anything they had tasted, 
"even in the Old Dominion." 

A short time after w r e were ironed, our fat friend 
very politely informed us we must prepare to go to 
work. We very politely replied that, as we were 
Texian officers, we would do no such thing. He 
went with our reply to the governor, when Colonel 
Fisher and myself addressed the following letter to 
the minister at war : 



" Castle of Perote, March 31, 1843. 
" To his Excellency General Tornel, ) 
Minister of War and Marine ; J 

" Sir, — Having seen it published in your public 
journals that we surrendered at ' discretion ' and 
judging, from the treatment we have received since 
we were placed under the charge of the command- 
ant of the 4th regiment of infantry, that such an 
impression still exists, we beg most respectfully to 
enclose to your excellency a copy of the articles of 
capitulation entered into at Mier on the 26th of 
December ultimo. 

" Of this treatment we do complain as violative 
of the pledged faith of your government, and highly 
abusive of her ' generous magnanimity.' That this 
complaint may not appear unfounded, we beg to 
state, that, with few exceptions, we have had a right 
to complain ; and since we are not the less grateful 
for good than sensible of bad treatment, w T e enclose 
to your excellency, as we have nothing to disguise 
from your government, a full copy of our correspond- 
ence with the several officers under whose charge 
we have been. 

" It would, indeed, be tedious, and perhaps unprof- 
itable, to enter into minute details of the treatment 
which has been, and still is, imposed upon us, so 
completely opposed to the spirit of our articles of 
capitulation, as well as of all civilized warfare, and 
the magnanimity of a great and generous nation. 
And we protest, in the name of the civilized world, 
that the imposition of this treatment upon us, as 


subjects of a l revolted province? is arbitrary, and not 
justified by the circumstances of the case. Sev- 
en years since the people of Texas lost the charac- 
ter of ' rebels by demonstrating their ability to main- 
tain themselves as a nation, and have been so recog- 
nised by the most enlightened nations of the earth ; 
and whatever may be the opinion of your excellency 
upon this subject, we are bound, as candid and hon- 
ourable men, to assure you that, although that ability 
is greatly increased, yet the people of Texas are not 
the less anxious for an honourable peace. 

" The unnatural and predatory warfare which 
for several years past has been carried on upon the 
borders of our respective countries, has been repro- 
bated by the most intelligent of our country. 

" But when we understood that your government, 
last summer, declared that she would thereafter con- 
duct the war upon the 'principles of civilized war- 
fare /' — and the invasion of Texas by General Woll 
was believed to be in accordance with that declara- 
tion — the undersigned took the field under the orders 
of their government. The consequence is well 
known to your excellency. We met General Am- 
pudia's division in honourable combat, and while 
success crowned your arms, we have not discredited 
our own. We capitulated under the most solemn 
promises, made through the honourable and chival- 
rous General Romolo de la Vega and Colonels Ca- 
rasco and Blanco ; they pledging the straps upon 
their shoulders that we should be treated ' with all 


the honours of prisoners of ivar? To add greater 
assurance to this promise, one of the fathers of your 
Church, Padre De Lire, the priest of Comargo, came 
forward and pledged the holy Catholic religion for 
this observance. 

" Our credulity accepted the terms, when still we 
possessed means of resistance ; and what is the con- 
sequence 1 Let these dirty prison walls and the 
criminal's fetters that now bind our limbs answer. 
We refer to what follows of our remonstrance with 
feelings of deep mortification and shame, not for 
ourselves, but for that authority which adds insult 
to injury. We are now ordered out with your crimi- 
nals as scavengers of nameless filth. There is, how- 
ever, a limit of endurance, beyond which, as hum- 
ble representatives of our own country, we are not 
permitted to go. 

" We furthermore solemnly protest, that if peace 
with Texas be desirable, she cannot, with honour 
to herself, in any possible manner entertain the ques- 
tion during the continuance of such treatment. 
However, it is not for the undersigned to suggest 
to your excellency the impolitic tendency of such 
treatment ; of its injustice the whole world may 

" We have the honour to be, very respectfully, 
your excellency's obedient servants/' 

April 6th. Our corpulent old friend returned to 
our prison, and said that he had positive orders from 


the governor to make us go to work. Colonel Fish- 
er, Captain Reese, and Lieutenant Clarke, the only 
Mier officers present, pledged themselves to me that 
they would be shot down sooner than submit to the 
order, and so we informed him. We then address- 
ed the following note to the governor : 

To his Excellency the Goveror-general ) 

April 6th, 1843. 
T-general i 
of the Castle of Perote. 

" Sir, — We have been ordered out by your offi- 
cers to perform unusual and degrading labour. In 
the name of our country and the whole civilized 
world, we, as officers, solemnly protest against the 
imposition of this degradation. 

" We farthermore respectfully protest, that, even 
were we willing tamely to submit to such a dis- 
grace, for the honour of our country we never 

" We herewith enclose your excellency a copy of 
our articles of capitulation. 

" Very respectfully, your excellency's obedient 
servants," &c. 

General Durand, governor of the castle, though a 
weak, is not a bad man. Upon the receipt of this 
note, he sent for Colonel Fisher and myself to his 
quarters, to argue us into the propriety of working, 
and the unavoidable necessity of his performing his 
duty. He said such was the orders of his govern- 
ment, and he had no alternative ; that we were not 
entitled to protection under our articles of capitu- 


lation, &c, &c. We replied that such a declara- 
tion was in accordance with " Mexican magnanim- 
ity," but that " we knew our duty to our country, 
and nothing should drive us from it." He said then 
that " he would communicate again with his gov- 
ernment upon the subject." This day I addressed 
a letter to the United States minister, from which 
the following is an extract : 

" To his Excellency Waddy Thompson, ) 
United States Minister, near Mexico. ) 

" Sir, — It is for him, the President of Mexico, to 
do me justice, or exercise cruelty over my body at 
his sovereign will. I ask nothing for myself which 
the laws of civilized warfare do not guaranty to me, 
and must believe that upon reflection his excellency 
will concede this much, not only for myself, but my 
brave companions in arms, whom the fate of war 
has made prisoners with me. 

" When his excellency Mr. Packenham, the Brit- 
ish minister, visited our prison near the city of Mex- 
ico, he led the officers to believe that we would 
have our parole according to the laws of civilized 
warfare; instead of which, we have been treated 
with every species of indignity, insult, and, in some 
instances, with inhuman cruelty. 

"At present we are occupying a filthy prison, 
chained together with cumbrous log-chains, lying 
upon the dirty floor for a bed, and ordered about by 
a brutal soldiery as if we. were their own miserable 
Peons. To-day we are ordered out as scavengers 


of the filth of this whole garrison, and are told that 
for refusing to disgrace ourselves and our country 
by a tame obedience of this infamous order, we will 
be incarcerated in a dungeon in solitary confine- 
ment. Be it so ; yet the duty we owe respectively 
to our Creator, country, and ourselves, we never can 

" Can it be that those governments, yours among 
others, which have formally acknowledged our na- 
tionality, will longer permit a violation of those laws 
which are common to the whole civilized world I 
We hope not ; and as your government claims 
friendship with ours, we most earnestly trust it will 
not. At the same time, we are grateful for the in- 
terest which your excellency has manifested towards 
us as kin and countrymen, and we beg to tender 
you our warmest acknowledgments for the same ; at 
the same time, we solemnly protest that the open 
violation of this law is no less an insult to those who 
claim to be our friends than it is upon ourselves. 

" With considerations of the highest regard, I am 
your excellency's obedient servant, 

" Thomas J. Green." 

Time passed heavily, and though we were repeat- 
edly told that we must go to work, yet the order 
was not attempted to be enforced upon us. The 
balance of the men, with the exception of those who 
had been excused, from inability or other causes, 
were, however, compelled to work in the manner 
before described. 


About this time our countrymen the Hon. Wm. 
E. Jones, S. A. Maverick, and Judge Hutchinson 
were liberated, through the intercession of General 
Thompson. They had been ordered from Perote 
to Mexico, where they were delivered over to Gen- 
eral Thompson, and now, while on their way home, 
they called to take leave of us. This afforded our 
companions good opportunity to write home, which 
many eagerly embraced. 

We were told also that Judge James W. Robin- 
son, one of the Bexar prisoners, previous to our ar- 
rival at the castle had opened a correspondence 
with President Santa Anna, in which he represent- 
ed a general feeling to prevail among the Texian 
prisoners, as well as in Texas, for returning back to 
the Mexican fold ; that this correspondence, with a 
promise from Robinson to use his utmost endeav- 
ours to accomplish this end, had procured his re- 
lease. So far as Robinson's falsehood concerned 
himself, his companions in chains were perfectly 
willing that he should humbug Santa Anna out of 
his liberty ; but they were unwilling to be under the 
imputation of disloyalty to their country even at the 
price of their liberty. Many wrote letters to Texas, 
and several to Santa Anna, denouncing the false- 
hood and the traitor. 

Up to this time we had been five months from 
our homes. We knew but little of what was going 
on there, and that little obtained through the news- 
papers. It was of the most melancholy and fore- 


boding character, and contained in President Hous- 
ton's many messages and proclamations, the last of 
which had just reached us, in which it was stated 
that a portion of our country was in a state of civil 
war, on account of his violent attempt to remove 
the public archives from the seat of government. 
No wonder, we thought, that Santa Anna should 
believe Robinson's statement, when he saw T under 
the sign manual of our own president such evidence 
of national disruption. He therefore concluded, as 
did many intelligent men in Mexico, that the peo- 
ple of Texas, to escape from such a state of anar- 
chy, would cheerfully return to the Mexican family. 

Had we been as little acquainted with President 
Houston and his habitual disregard for truth, such 
possibly might have been our conclusion. We knew 
him better ; we knew the people of Texas better ; 
and there was but one sentiment with our fellow- 
prisoners, which was, " that we would rather rot in 
these walls, ere Texas, by any act, directly or indi- 
rectly, should acknowledge the supremacy of Mex- 
ico, or do anything on our account which would 
compromise her dignity and honour." 

The following extract of a letter which I address- 
ed to the United States minister on the 5th of April, 
will show the feeling which possessed every Tex- 
ian, whether in sickness or in health, in chains or 
rags : " It has been rumoured here that James W. 
Robinson obtained his liberty from the President of 
Mexico upon a promise that he would use his influ- 


258 the author's chains taken off. 

ence to bring Texas back into the Mexican family. 
If he has done so, he has lied to obtain his liberty. 
I tell you, in perfect truth and candour, that it is 
worth his life, and every other person's in Texas, who 
will dare intimate such a thing. I say again, that, 
notwithstanding the dolorous forebodings and infa- 
mous slanders of our country by our drunken, opium- 
eating president, Texas is much stronger than ever, 
and never will entertain such a proposition." 

During this time, when not presiding as chief co- 
cinero (cook), much of my time was employed at the 
desk, which I had erected by propping up an old 
door in one corner of the prison. Here I employed 
my hours in writing letters both to Texas and the 
United States, and in keeping up a correspondence 
with General Thompson, the American minister, who 
evinced the liveliest interest in our welfare. 

My health declined so much on account of the 
coldness of our quarters and want of proper food, as 
well as the chafing of the mind under such restraint 
— added to which, the bitter mortification at what 
seemed to be my country's neglect— that the chief 
surgeon of the hospital ordered my irons to be re- 
moved. This was fortunate both for Colonel Fisher 
and myself, as it afforded us the privilege of walk- 
ing about the castle uncontrolled. 

The anniversary of the Texians' triumph over 
Santa Anna at San Jacinto found my finances re- 
duced to the last extremity. Was this day to be 
passed in silence, though the wheel of Fortune had 


placed that tyrant at the top and ourselves at the 
bottom 1 No ! And though I might have never 
expected to own another ounce, we would have re- 
joiced in our country's triumph ; so that last doub- 
loon was devoted to our country's jubilee. 

We purchased seven gallons of vino mascal, and 
as many of ass's milk, thirty dozen eggs, a large 
loaf of sugar, and appropriated all our cooking uten- 
sils and water jars to the compounding of egg-nog; 
and such egg-nog as never before was seen or drank 
under the nineteenth degree of north latitude. 

Colonel Fisher, Captain Reese, and Lieutenant 
Clarke beat up the eggs ; the old sailing-master, 
Lyon, pounded the sugar, which operation he ac- 
companied with one of his best " yarns ;" Dan stood 
by, and was peculiarly eloquent in singing his fa- 
vourite ditties, "Long, long ago" and the " The Sol- 
dier s Tear" while I presided over the synthetical 
operation of stirring in the requisite ingredients. 
When I pronounced it right, they all said, " It is 
exactly the thing." 

We went around to the prison rooms, and sum- 
moned all hands to attend the thanksgiving. When 
these noble fellows stood round the bowl in rags, 
with their "jewelry" riveted upon their ankles, 
brought up and tied around the waist with a cord 
h-anging in a graceful festoon between each pair, 
the sight filled my heart to overflowing. Though 
the body was oppressed, they looked like caged 
lions, and every face bespoke the invincible spirit 
of a freeman. 

260 TOASTS. 

" Fill jour cups, boys !" was the word ; and they 
did fill them, for many had not tasted "a drop" for 

" The day we celebrate, and the liberty of our 
country :" three cheers, and " Will you come to the 
bower ?" 

Drank standing and uncovered ; they had neither 
seats nor hats. All hands pronounced it better than 
the nectar of the gods, for that they understood to 
be pure, unmixed, and unadulterated "mountain 
dew," while this had the " body ;" for while the 
juice of the agave inspired the soul, the ass's milk 
filled the stomach. 

" Our wives, children, and sweethearts :" three 
cheers, and the " Soldier s Tear" from Dan. 

" A fair field, and no more white flags :" three 
cheers, and "Hail, Columbia!" 

" Old Peg-leg, and his yellow nation : we owe 
thee much :" groans, three times three. 

Thus we were getting along swimmingly, when 
our liberty shouts rose high above the walls of the 
prison, and alarmed our keepers. They supposed 
that we intended to swallow them and take the 
castle. When our fat captain came round with 
the guard to know the cause of the riot, we told 
him it was a mode we had in our country of cele- 
brating our saints' days, and hoped he would not 
disturb us in our mode of worship, as we did not 
disturb him in his. He replied, "Bueno, sehor — 
Very well, sir," and started, when we gave the 
wick to Trimble. 


Trimble, poor fellow! has since paid the debt, and 
in the prime of life too, which many of our best 
countrymen have also paid, and which the best men 
must pay for the want of bread, caused by the crim- 
inal and treacherous conduct of our own president, 
who could have relieved him at pleasure. The poor 
man has left a destitute family to mourn his loss. 

Trimble could mimic the look of an owl, and twist 
his head, and whoop, far better than the most elo- 
quent owl upon the great Mississippi. This poor 
fellow, thus having the wink at the time that the 
guards came up, squared himself, rolled his eyes en- 
tirely over in the sockets, twisted his head " clean 
round" on his shoulders, and gave a whoop that beat 
the best of owls. 

Our burly captain turned round, frowned, and 
then hesitated whether to be mad or pleased, whether 
to laugh or swear ; and, after a moment's hesitation, 
with a vacant look, he burst forth in an exclamation* 
" Tecolote," and moved on. The universal roar of 
laughter from our companions hurried him forward. 
"Tecolote" in native Mexican means "screech-owl" 
and thus poor Trimble carried the soubriquet to his 




Our fat friend. — Commissariat. — Statement of Rations. — Jake upon Cow- 
ology. — Snake-bitten old Cow. — Guts in Caricature.— Old Limpy : his 
Character.— Lousing. — Simeon Glenn. — Louse-racing. — What is an Old 
Soldier 1 ? — How to select the Racers. — An Argument in favour of Phre- 
nology. — General Austin in the Accordada. — The Old Sailing-master's 
Pipe. — Longing for Brandy. — Sutler, Wife, and Daughter. — Shifts to 
get Brandy. — Surprise of Senorito. — The Sergeant's handsome Wife. — 
Dan : his "Soldier's Tear." — A United States Midshipman.^How he 
avoided Work. — A Favourite. — "Long, long Ago." — His Heresy lost 
him Favour. — His intellectual Improvement. — Mr. Black, United States 
Consul. — Billy Reese. — Shooting of Captain Ewin Cameron. — Remin- 
iscence of Captain Cameron. — George B. Crittenden. — 0. Phelps. — 
Letter to President Tyler. — Letters from United States. — Letter to Mr. 
Calhoun. — Preparation for Emigration to Texas. 

Our fat old guard was so corpulent, that, when 
standing still, he had often to rear back to preserve 
his equilibrium, on which occasions his abdominal 
prominence formed a huge semicircle from his chin 
to his hip-joints. When moving forward, to pre- 
serve his balance, his epicurean preponderance im- 
pelled him along at a railroad speed — a kind of run- 
ning pace ; and, though he was the largest man, jet 
he was the fastest walker in the castle. When he 
would be coming round in the direction of our pris- 
ons, the word " Guts," sung out by some wary senti- 
nel, told us that we had no time to lose in adjust- 
ing our "jewelry." 


If any department of the Mexican service is worse 
managed than the pay department, it is the commis- 
sariat ; as evidence of which may be mentioned the 
fact, that though this castle is considered the strong- 
hold of the powers that be, yet, with the exception 
of water, there is not one day's rations of provisions 
in it. 

The government nominally allows both the sol- 
dier and the prisoner twenty-five cents per diem for 
rations. This amount is not paid to the prisoner, 
but, as a matter of favouritism, is allowed to some 
officer to draw and furnish the rations. From ava- 
rice — for none but the avaricious seek such offices — 
he puts the poor prisoner upon what will barely sus- 
tain life, and frequently it falls short of even that. 

The fat man referred to was the comisario, who 
received our pay and furnished the rations ; and it 
would be difficult to imagine any human being more 
penurious. He had lived to an age when avarice 
absorbed his whole soul ; but all this was in some 
degree excusable in his case, as he had three daugh- 
ters to support, whose proportions at this present wri- 
ting but too much resembled that of their worthy 

The rations of the Mexican soldiers are not sub- 
ject to the like abuse as in the case of the prisoners. 
The former have officers to whom they can com- 
plain to prevent such outrageous swindling, while 
the foreign prisoner is insulted in his complaints, 
and unpitied in his misery. 


The estimate of the cost of the Texian rations 
did not exceed eight cents per diem, with a reserva- 
tion of three and a quarter cents per day from the 
twenty-five, making forty-seven cents paid over to 
each man once in two weeks : the balance was, con- 
sequently, clear gain to the old cormorant referred to. 

The reader may form some estimate of the quan- 
tity and quality of our food from the following state- 
ment, which I furnished to the American minister : 
" 7 o'clock A.M., our cook brings us in a large tin 
kettle of coffee, ' the devil's broth,' to wit : 13 ounces 
of a burnt substance, so called, boiled in about five 
gallons of water, and two and a half pounds of brown 
sugar, ' pilonci,' a fraction over a half pint each. 
This amount is also served us at 5 o'clock P.M. 
At noon, the rations about four days out of each 
eight are sixty-two pieces of beef, chopped up with 
the bone, there being sixty-two prisoners. These 
pieces average, with bone, about fourteen ounces. 
The beef is much poorer than I ever imagined would 
be served for food ; much worse, generally, than is 
served to their own soldiers ; in some instances, too 
poor to walk, the animal having been brought in 
upon hand-sticks. These sixty-two chunks, wholly 
destitute of anything like fat, are boiled in water with 
six ounces oi?nanteca, lard, with a sufficiency of salt 
and red pepper. At the same time, eleven pounds 
of good rice are boiled with one pound of lard, and 
a small quantity of onions. The other four days of 
the eight we have no meat of any kind, the lack of 


which is supplied either by Irish potatoes, oxfrijoles, 
beans, which last are most generally of an indiffer- 
ent quality, and not sufficient for any except the very 
smallest eaters." 

After we left the valley of the Rio Grande, we 
saw no beef that would be considered even tolera- 
ble in Texas. About Perote it is much inferior to 
any we found elsewhere. These poorest of poor 
cattle, whose years of service had long since passed, 
had been turned upon the common to die ; they, 
consequently, could be purchased cheap. These sup- 
plied the beef upon which the ill-fated Texians had 
to feast themselves. What rendered the beef the 
more intolerable was, that the night previous to the 
morning on which they were butchered, these poor 
old grandmothers w r ere brought into the castle, and 
tied to a certain post at our prison door, where we 
could all see and pity them. Our boys would gather 
round these poor old creatures, count the rings upon 
their horns, and ascertain their years accordingly. 
One of the animals numbered seventeen rings : she 
was nearly blind from age, and would roll her glassy 
eyeballs around upon her heathen spectators with 
the demure and quiet gravity of appeal as to what 
the strange procedure portended. Jake, a heretic 
brave, who has followed cattle long upon the Tex- 
ian prairies, and was deeply versed in cow-ology, 
knew well her meaning. Though Jake had killed 
his score of Mexicans with less compunction of con- 
science than if they had been so many vipers, he was 



deeply affected ; his heart swelled with emotion, 
till, with a choked utterance, he turned from the 
scene, exclaiming, " Boys, she looks so much like 
my poor old grandmother in Texas, I'll be sworn if 
I taste a mouthful of her!" 

On another occasion, when one of these venera- 
ble mothers had laid herself down to die, having 
been snake-bitten on the neck, which caused a 
swelling even to a larger size than her body, and 
rendered the poor creature wholly unable to stand 
upon her feet, she was in that condition packed 
into the castle upon hand-sticks. In remonstrating 
against such an atrocity, the only satisfaction we 
obtained was a surly reply ; for, after the old fel- 
low had reared back into one of his semicircle at- 
titudes, in a most complacent manner, after a deep 
and thoughtful look, with his right hand upon his 
chin, and his fore finger pointing up above his 
mouth, he said, " Well, I'll not give you the snake- 
bitten part." 

We had our revenge upon this old brute by car- 
icaturing him upon the castle walls, to the great 
amusement of his brother officers. We had a pris- 
oner with us, a German, by the name of Voos, 
about whom a book of stirring incidents might be 
written. Voos was the man who, in 1835, fresh 
from Germany, and on his way to join our liberty 
army, rode smack into San Antonia when the Tex- 
ians lay before that place, and asked for the Texian 
general's headquarters, when he was shown into 

" guts" caricatured. 267 

the calaboose by General Coss; he was subsequent- 
ly taken prisoner with Colonel Fannin, and escaped 
that horrible massacre by passing himself off as a 
physician, being retained to heal the wounded. He 
has since seen a great deal of frontier service, and 
been in many Indian fights : he is a man of educa- 
tion, and has fine taste for drawing. Upon the sun- 
shiny side of the walls of our prison, Voos, with 
charcoal, could give a lifelike sketch of the corpu- 
lent individual so frequently referred to. On one 
occasion he made him fishing up the beef's bowels 
from our cook's kettle upon a flesh-fork, saying, 
" These are very good guts, Texians" The likeness 
was so good that all the Mexican officers recognised 
it, and the more they laughed, the more towering 
Guts's passion rose, until serious fears were entertain- 
ed of an explosion of his ire. 

He was too much absorbed with avarice, howev- 
er, to be greatly disturbed by any other passion ; and 
had his senior officer been a better man, perhaps Guts 
would have been a kinder master. This senior of- 
ficer, who watched him so closely that he had to 
watch us with like diligence, was the Mayor de la 
Plaza, and next in command to the governor. 

When Admiral Baudin turned loose his French 
crackers upon them at Vera Cruz in 1838, it is said 
that this officer, in scampering out of danger, ran 
against a stone corner and knocked off his knee-pan, 
from which his leg has never since straightened. 
He walks with a staff, and upon the tip ends of his 


toes, which gives him a gait uneven as that of the 
kangaroo. This old chap, whose temper, if possi- 
ble, is more uneven than his gait, and whose moth- 
er entailed upon him the misery of a name that 
Texians never could pronounce, for short we called 
" Old Limpy." If we met worse men in Mexico, 
we certainly never met so mean a wretch as " Lim- 
py." He would slip round the corners, and take all 
the low, eaves-dropping turns upon us of a mean ne- 
gro. He would, by every means in his power, en- 
deavour to curtail our liberties and comforts, the 
greatest of which was, after a cold night, to get on 
the sunshiny side of the wall and kill the vermin. 

This operation in Mexico occupies a large por- 
tion of the daylight of that nation ; and I am told 
that from long habit, vermin-killing is almost as ne- 
cessary an excitement to the vitality of this race as 
bread and meat is to ours. " There were lice upon 
man and beast," and it would be difficult to imagine 
that there could be a greater number in the coun- 
try, even had the dust of the earth been " smote with 
the rod of Aaron." 

There were certain hours between the opening 
of our prison doors and the " turning off of the 
guard," when our men would seek the sunshine, 
spread out their blankets, and down upon their all- 
fours, not to hunt the vermin as a matter of amuse- 
ment, but to make upon them flagrante hello. The 
rays of the sun would start these night-walkers from 
their hiding-places, and their motion would make 


them the more easily seen. The Texians, for de- 
cency's sake, called this operation " driving :" nor 
did they ever drive in vain. At times, when one 
of these animals showed himself particularly fleet 
of foot, he would be captured and saved for the 
races. How greatly does early education influence 
our lives ! the early prejudice against crushing this 
hideous insect between the thumb nails always op- 
erated adversely upon my appetite ; and I do con- 
fess that I can maintain a better stomach at the 
killing of a Mexican than at the killing of one of 
these prison-associates after the above manner. 
Though I frequently scalded and swept my " 3 by 
6" sleeping-place, and changed my clothes almost 
every day, yet, upon an average, each morning I 
would have from thirty to forty of these provoking 
bedfellows upon me. In one thinglwas peculiarly 

In the same prison-cell with me was Simeon 
Glenn, one of my "old '36 brigade." He felt all 
the attachment for me which an old soldier feels for 
his superior officer, and volunteered to do a service 
which was calculated to shorten my breakfast. 
Simeon was a good fellow and an old soldier in 
more than one sense. When he was first ordered 
out to work, he told our sentinel that he had the 
hernia, and that the American doctors told him 
" never to stoop down and lift up anything." This 
was sufficient, as the opinion of American doctors 
was regarded as of the highest authority in all hu- 


man maladies, and Simeon was permitted to remain 
in prison. This indulgence afforded him ample op- 
portunity to war ad libitum upon the piojo. Most 
of the time since 1836 Simeon had lived with the 
Mexican population of Bexar; and while his resi- 
dence did not make him the better friend of the 
Mexican, it confirmed his decided hostility against 
these vermin. 

The first thing in the morning after the turnkey 
would open our prison door and let in the light, I 
would get up and call for Simeon. I generally pre- 
faced handing him the shirt by saying, " Glenn, I 
had a very disagreeable night of it." Taking the 
shirt, Simeon's sympathy would as often respond, 
after turning down a plait in the collar, " No won- 
der, general ! look here at this cursed old sow with 
her litter of pigs !" 

Simeon lost nothing by this operation, for he 
usually came in as one of our mess ; and when he 
assisted as cook, it was not until the formal procla- 
mation of the irrevocable law of "soap and water :" 
no law of the Medes or Persians was ever more 
strictly enforced when we had anything to cook. 

This very delicate pursuit of louse racing has long 
since been known in Mexican prisons as one of the 
very few amusements of those dull regions. The 
races come off in the following manner : The Mex- 
ican prisoners draw a circle upon a beefs hide 
about eighteen inches in diameter, inside of which 
they draw a smaller one, and in the centre of this 


they make a holy cross : even to this vile purpose is 
that emblem of purity prostituted ! The racers are 
placed on the outside of the inner ring, and the one 
that first crosses the double ring, and arrives at the 
holy goal, sweeps the plata or soap, as the case may 
be. We have witnessed the most ludicrous scenes 
around these pools. 

As the tiny animals start, their owners become 
as much excited, doubtless, as the owners of Fash- 
ion and Boston at their great race. They jump 
and climb over each other to get a better view : it 
is, "Hurra for the white," and "Well done for the 
red," and many such expressions, accompanied with 
the most antic capers, each countenance being ex- 
pressive of different degrees of hope and despair, 
according to the locality of their respective coursers. 
On these funny occasions, we have stood off to 
watch the countenances of the parties interested, 
and have witnessed grimaces which would have 
shaken the pencil from the hands of Hogarth. The 
only thing comparable to it is the negroes around a 
cockpit on a Whitsuntide in Virginia or North Car- 
olina, a festival of ancient fashion in those good old 
states, where the negroes are as free of constraint 
as were the slaves of Rome on their Saturnalia. 

The Texian prisoners thus simplified this mode 
of racing : they drew a charcoal circle upon a plank, 
in the centre of which the racers are turned loose 
at a given signal, and the one that " first crosses the 
black ring is winner." 


Soon after pay-days, when each man is flush with 
his forty-seven cents in cash, I have known a whole 
" medio" bet upon a race ; but the most usual bet 
was an old soldier. An " old soldier" in this sense 
is not the absolute war-worn veteran, covered with 
honourable scars and long years of service, but a 
chew of tobacco, which has from time to time un- 
dergone mastication from friend to friend, with the 
same kindness which one would loan another his 
knife or comb. These "old soldiers," after losing 
all the virtues of the "weed" from long grinding, are 
dried and smoked in a pipe ; the latter operation 
coming as near the idea of the destructibility of mat- 
ter as philosophical analysis will allow. 

There is much skill to be exercised in the selec- 
tion of your racers. At the same time that you 
would avoid the selection of an epicurean-built an- 
imal as you w 7 ould an overly fat horse, it is not al- 
ways that the most Cassius-looking fellow will win. 
Those who had watched more closely the natu- 
ral history of the animal, soon discovered that they 
have as much love for their young as animals of a 
larger size. Thus those of our countrymen most 
skilled in the zoology of this troublesome little crea- 
ture won the most " old soldiers." They would 
select a mother, which had lately deposited her 
young, around which she would hover with the de- 
votion of a hen over her brood. When the mother 
of the young family was turned loose, her philopro- 
genitiveness impelled her forth, and doubtless she 


felt all the keen, though instinctive anxiety for her 
offspring which wiser animals feel. Whether her 
organ of locality could safely direct her back to her 
household after such abduction is more than was 
ascertained. This is certain, that she usually reach- 
ed the goal first. Had Pindar been an inmate of a 
Mexican prison, he would have enriched his " Lous- 
iad" with a more accurate knowledge of his subject. 
And might not Mr. Combe, or some other phrenol- 
ogist, strengthen their theory by subjecting the head 
of a mother louse to microscopic inspection 1 Or, 
would it be a strong argument in favour of this fas- 
cinating science should the bump of philoprogeni- 
tiveness be larger in a louse than in a flea 1 for the 
latter deposites her young and hops off with all the 
ball-room gayety of a coquette, leaving the " little 
ones" to make the best of their way into the world. 
The lamented General Austin once told me, that 
when he, by order of Santa Anna, was so long incar- 
cerated in the Accordada in solitary confinement, a 
mouse was his only companion ; and that it be- 
came so very gentle as to feed from his hands. 
Until I witnessed the interest which prisoners take 
in smaller things, I could not realize that interest 
which, he assured me, in the absence of man or books, 
he took in his little companion. " Often," said he, 
"when reason was nearly dethroned, and hope sunk 
into despair, this little animal would come as a spe- 
cial messenger sent by Providence to recall my sen- 
ses ; and — would you believe it 1 — I have laughed at 

M M 


his antic miniature comedies, and talked to him for 

Lord Byron makes the prisoner of Chillon thus 
beautifully express this feeling, and it has in it even 
more truth than poetry : 

" With spiders I have friendship made, 
And watch 'd them in their sullen trade ; 
Had seen the mice by moonlight play, 
And why should I feel less than they 1 
We were all inmates of one place, 
And I the monarch of each race ; 
Had power to kill— yet, strange to tell ! 
In quiet we had learned to dwell : 
My very chains and I grew friends. 
So much a long communion tends 
To make us what we are." 

It is constitutional with mankind that his desire 
increases for the thing inhibited to him. I have seen 
many striking illustrations of this fact. I have known 
men who could well do without tobacco where it 
was plenty, but when they could not get it would 
long for it with the intense feeling of a woman for 
some particular fancy when in the most interesting 
state of nature. I have known men who rarely or 
never drank ardent spirits when it was easily to be 
had, so soon as the use of it was denied them, they 
would put themselves to the greatest possible shifts 
to procure it. Above all others, the most inveterate 
habit was the use of tobacco, and those of us who 
had never used it were truly fortunate, as it was a 
contraband article, and difficult to procure. 

The old sailing-master was a great slave to the 
weed, and it was always gratifying to meet his good- 


natured face when his pipe was well filled and pro- 
truding full two inches from his contented counte- 
nance. Then his happy looks made one feel bet- 
ter; but on those occasions when he could not fill 
his pipe, both his face and his gait reminded us of a 
funeral procession, and made us feel sad. Much, 
however, as he loved his pipe, he did not love it so 
well but that he would stop, no matter how great 
his hurry, and let a comrade take a pull at it — 
half a dozen long, strong pulls. As liberal as he was 
with his tobacco, still, at times, " the boys" would 
depredate upon him. 

Near the head of his sheepskin, where he slept, 
there was a crack in the wall, into which, after the 
lights were blown out, he would carefully transfer 
his " old soldier," when frequently those best " at 
crawling" would ease it out of the crack and regrind 
it. If they failed to replace it in the crack, the first 
thing in the morning we would hear the old sailing- 
master sing out, " By my soul, boys, my old soldier 
is adrift ;" but should he find it in the crack, and 
fresh from the mill, his song would then be, " By my 
soul, boys, some of you have been foul of my old 
soldier." Then, after igniting a loco foco, he being 
" quarterlero ocho," would commence and sweep 
up the decks ; the conclusion of which operation 
was always with the grateful acknowledgment, 
" Now, by my soul, I have got a good ' prespera- 
tion,' " at the same time wiping the exuberant drops 
from his benevolent physiogomy. 


On certain days we had the privilege of buying 
brandy at the tienda, shop, a kind of sutler store, 
kept by the wife and daughter of a superannuated 
lieutenant. The old man was a dried-up octogena- 
rian, who had served under Napoleon in Italy. He 
occasionally looked after our men at work, and was 
not a bad man. His wife was about thirty years his 
junior, and weighed two hundred and thirty pounds, 
and was the most stingy fat woman I ever knew. 
The daughter was twenty years her junior, and 
twenty pounds her senior : her face was marked 
with small-pox : she was, however, one of the best- 
tempered women of her size. She made but slow 
progress in English, yet always met us with a smile. 

Her venerable sire still called her 'Nina, by the 
fond name he did thirty years ago, which means 
child. We called her Senorita Nina ; others of our 
boys, who made as slow progress in Spanish as did 
Nina in English, called her Senorita, muy bonita, with 
a low bow, the English of which is, Miss, very pret- 
ty ; but the low bow gave it the undehnable touch. 
There were still other Texians who were not up to 
this, and who employed a language which all seem- 
ed to understand and no one could explain. They 
would tip Senorita Nina Mr. Kendall's admirable 
" can't-come-it-judge" motion with a low bow, and 
the sight of a picayune, and the good creature never 
failed to wet their whistles. 

The high estimation in which these people gen- 
erally held Texians may be known from the fact 


that many of us could get credit for a dollar's worth, 
some even five, without a pledge of any kind, when 
they would not trust one of their own officers with- 
out he left his straps, sword-belt, or something in 
pledge corresponding to the amount purchased. Se- 
norita Nina frequently invited Colonel Fisher, Colqu- 
houn, Ogden, Van Ness, myself, and others, into her 
back parlour to drink our vino mascal, and would fre- 
quently remark, when she would return from the store, 
" What a very strange people you are ! I can leave 
you here by yourselves, and you won't steal a thing." 

There were certain days that it was positively 
against orders to sell us brandy. On these occa- 
sions many were the shifts resorted to for procuring 
it. One of their soldiers, in going to town, would cut 
off about three feet of the bowels of a beeve, tie up 
one end, fill it full, tie up the other, and then curl it up 
like a snake in the top of his cap, bring it in the cas- 
tle, and retail it to us at a usurious profit " per suck." 

There also lived in the castle a frisky, laughing, 
handsome little woman, the wife of a sergeant. She 
hated to see the poor Texians suffer, and would 
smuggle it in a beeve's bladder, out of which many a 
time we have drank to " the glory, honour, and liber- 
ty of Texas! 1 

On these occasions, under the pretence of looking 
after our washerwoman to get a light-coloured shirt, 
we would step in, and after giving her the " can't- 
come-it-judge," we were always answered by the 
pert little woman, first taking the forefinger of her 

278 dan : his " soldier's tear." 

right hand, placing it under the right eye, and pull- 
ing down the skin until you could see the red of the 
ball. This meant, " Look out for the officers while 
I pour out of the bladder." 

This good little woman had also a high opinion 
of our integrity : in her front room she kept for sale 
fancy articles upon her centre-table, which we would 
take up and examine with Yankee curiosity while 
she would be in the back room exhuming the blad- 
der. Frequently, when she would return, after cast- 
ing her eye quickly over the table to see that all was 
right, she would hold up both hands, with her pretty 
round face elongated into expressible surprise, ex- 
claiming, at the same time, " What a very strange 
people you are ! I can leave you here by yourselves, 
and you won't steal a thing. Why, I would not 
trust the governor here by himself!" 

Our friend Dan, on these and similar occasions, 
would make himself useful. He, though a rare bird, 
was not after Ovid's description, " rara avis in terre. 
nigroque simillima cygno" but was of the gayest 
plumage and the most eloquent discourse. Often, 
when he has made these good women cry by first 
translating and then singing the " Soldier's Tear," 
they would wipe away their tears and pity our 

Dan was formerly a midshipman in the United 
States service, and attached to the Brandywine on 
the Pacific station, where he learned the language 
of these people ; but, like several other brave and 



generous spirits, he quitted that honourable service 
to fight for the liberty of our rising star. As mid- 
shipman, he had taken early lessons in the arts of 
the "Old Soldier." He was a proficient in raising 
a chew of tobacco, and sung himself into many a 
glass of vino ; but his genius never showed the true 
intellect until he was ordered out to work. 

One day at this rural sport of packing volcanic 
stones from the mountains was enough to satisfy his 
curiosity, and he wisely concluded that, inasmuch 
as he never put any of these stones on the mount- 
ains, "he would be shot if he took any away." 

How was this to be avoided 1 He took a steel 
pen from my writing table in the corner, scratched 
his legs from his ankle to the knee, wrapped them 
around in many folds of old shirts and blankets, and 
quietly awaited the second order. When the order 
came, his legs were in a high state of inflammation 
from their superabundance of clothing, so much so 
that the surgeon had the irons taken off his ankles. 
The consequence was, that Dan's first day of packing 
stones was his last. Afterward it was easy for him 
to increase the inflammation upon inspection days. 

Dan's knowledge of the Spanish, and exemp- 
tion from work, made him a kind of moving oracle 
among this ignorant population of Mexican soldiers 
and sergeants' wives. For a long time h@ was a 
favourite among the latter, to whom he generally 
paid our washing bills, and to whom he would, as 
usual, first translate, and then sing, "Long, long ago." 
When he would come to 


" Now that you've come, all my griefs are removed, 
Let me forget that so long you have roam'd ; 
Let me believe that you love as you loved 

Long, long ago— long, long ago," 

he would throw into the "long, long ago" such a 
pathetic physiognomy that he rarely failed to melt 
his fair hearers. 

Alas ! everything on earth is mutable, and Dan's 
favour met a check from which it never recovered. 

If there are any people more than others tena- 
cious of their religious tenets, it is the Catholics of 
Mexico. These women had a number of sprightly 
children, who became very fond of Dan. He had 
nothing to do, and could talk Spanish to them. 
They all had their Catechisms, and held the opinion 
that we had some immediate agency in killing their 
beloved Saviour, and not a very long time since ; 
but Dan persuaded these little fellows that we were 
not the people who killed their beloved Jesus — that 
it was the Mexicans themselves: "for," said he, "do 
you not see that they have crowned him with a 
wreath of thorns 1 we have no thorns in our coun- 
try : and do you not also see that there ranchero 
spearing him in the side with a long lance ? we have 
neither rancheros nor lances in our country: we 
fight with the rifle." So soon as these good moth- 
ers found what an inroad Dan had made in the 
" young idea," he lost all favour ; and when he 
would come about afterward, they would call in the 
little chaps with the most anxious care, and stand 
between them and Dan like an old hen between a 
hawk and her brood. 


If anything exceeded the horror which Dan's 
heresy inspired in these ignorant people, it was a 
scene we witnessed in the commencement of the 
campaign. While our volunteer army was collect- 
ing about Bexar, preparatory to the march upon 
the Rio Grande, a portion of them were encamped 
near the Mission Church of San Jose. Around the 
door-facing of this church, as most churches in 
Mexico, there are a number of scriptural images cut 
in stone, and among them one of the fathers with 
the infant Messiah in his hands. On this occasion, 
one of our buckskin Republicans, who had struck 
for liberty, rode up, and not finding a convenient 
swinging limb to hitch his " critter" to, he threw the 
larieta over the head of the young Jesus. Very 
soon the animal took fright, pulled back, and car- 
ried away the head. At the sight of which, the 
men, women, and children, old and young, swarmed 
around the desecrated image, crossing themselves 
in prayer, showing by their countenances a degree 
of grief, indignation, and horror which it would be 
impossible to describe. 

The first care of our liberty-man was to secure 
his horse, and then he went up to the old woman 
who held the head, and appeared, if possible, more 
distressed than the balance, and said, " Ole 'oman, 
now it ain't no use to make such a fuss about the 
thing. I didn't know that the 'tarnal critter was 
goin' to pull off his head : you have got d — n mean 
stone about here, anyhow." This speech the Repub- 


282 dan's intellectual recreation. 

lican considered the amende honorable \ and went his 
way whistling, leaving the group in prayer to propi- 
tiate the calamity. 

A gentleman of Dan's leisure now required intel- 
lectual recreation, and among his other teachings he 
persuaded the ignorant Peon who sold us ass's milk 
that " it was the richness of the milk which made 
their ears so much longer than either those of the 
cow or horse," and that the length of their ears re- 
spectively was in proportion to the substance of the 
milk ; " for," says he, " don't you see that corn will 
grow higher in rich than in poor land ?" There was 
no resisting this argument, and this poor fellow left 
the castle a wiser man than any other dealer in ass's 

Mr. Black, the American consul in Mexico, hu- 
manely sent us a trunk of clothes and a blanket each, 
for which we were sincerely thankful. Captain 
West, formerly of Philadelphia, also sent us from 
Mexico a trunk of clothes and some writing mate- 
rials, for which we acknowledged many obligations. 
Also, Dr. , and Senor Conzalvi,* sent us a pack- 
age of English books, which rendered our confine- 
ment more tolerable, and for which we shall long re- 
member them with gratitude. 

* August, 1845. A few days since, in passing up Canal-street, in New- 
York, I met at 118, where he keeps a coffee-house, this excellent man, 
Senor Conzalvi. His disinterested friendship in furnishing my destitute 
comrades clothing, bread, and medicine became known to the Mexican 
authorities, and he had to fly. He is a Corsican by birth, deserves the 
lasting gratitude of Texians, and the good-will of all just men. 


Young Billy Reese, who had just recovered from 
a dangerous illness in Mexico, was on his way to 
Texas, and came by to see us. He confirmed the 
melancholy intelligence of the decimation of our sev- 
enteen companions at Salado. This intelligence 
threw a still darker gloom over our imprisonment. 
When, a few days after, we heard of the shooting of 
the heroic Captain Cameron, and the more than he- 
roic manner in which they all met death, all of us 
shed tears to their memory — we trust, not tears of 

After the horrible murder of our seventeen coun- 
trymen at Salado on the 25th of March, the main 
body of the survivors were marched on the road to 
the capital, a distance of five hundred miles, under 
sufferings the most cruel, which killed several ; and 
many others, being unable to travel, were left in the 
hospitals of San Luis Potosi, Dolores, and San Juan 
del Rio, from which miserable sinks but few ever re- 
turned. It would be swelling this journal beyond all 
reasonable bounds to detail the actual suffering of 
these men ; indeed, language would give the reader 
but a poor idea of these sad recollections. Thus, 
after thirty days' march, they arrived at the village 
of Huehuetoca, seven leagues from the city of Mex- 
ico, where they were all crowded together in a room 
too small to permit of their lying down, and into 
which not a breath of air could enter when the door 
was closed. In a very little time the air became so 
impure, from the exhaustion of the oxygen, that the 

284 THE "SAD night." 

candles went out, and respiration became exceeding- 
ly difficult. They in vain appealed to the guards at 
the door to let in fresh air, and when death the most 
cruel stared them wholesale in the face, as a last al- 
ternative they had recourse to cutting holes in the 
door with their pocket knives, and alternately breath- 
ing at these small orifices. 

This was, indeed, as the Mexican soldiers called 
it, la noche triste, " the sad night." Their march of 
many leagues the day before, through an insufferable 
dust, a burning sun, the want of food and water, and 
then at night not even space sufficient of the stone 
floor to lie upon, and a suffocating atmosphere to 
breathe, was not their full measure of wo. About 
eight o'clock at night a menial murderer, with a pair 
of epaulets upon his shoulders, and a guard of about 
one dozen mounted men, under broad-brimmed hats, 
arrived with orders from the tyrant Santa Anna to 
shoot the bold and beloved Captain Ewin Cameron. 

Captain Cameron was unchained from his part- 
ner, Colonel Win. F. Wilson, and, with his interpret- 
er, Alfred Thurmond, taken out of prison, and kept 
under a separate guard until morning; and when in- 
formed that he was to be shot, wrote a manly and 
dignified letter of remonstrance to the British minis- 
ter against such a cold-blooded murder of a national 
enemy and a British subject. The writer regrets his 
inability as yet to be able to procure this last letter. 

The next morning, after our men were marched 
for the city of Mexico, he was taken out in the rear 



of the village to the place of execution. A priest, 
the usual attendant of Mexican executions, was in 
waiting, and when he was asked if he wished to 
confess to the father, he promptly answered, " No ! 
throughout life I believe that I have lived an upright 
man, and if I have to confess it shall be to my Ma- 
ker." His arms were then tied with a cord at the 
elbows and drawn back, and when the guard advan- 
ced to bandage his eyes, he said to his interpreter, 
" Tell them no ! Ewin Cameron can now, as he has 
often done before for the liberty of Texas, look death 
in the face without winking." So saying, he threw 
his hat and blanket upon the ground, opened the 
bosom of his hunting-shirt, presented his naked 
breast, and gave the word " Fire !" when his noble 
soul in a twinkling passed into another, we trust a 
better world. Thus fell Ewin Cameron ! Long, 
long will the patriotic of his adopted country cherish 
the memory of one whose bosom was bared to every 
danger, and whose life was sacrificed to liberty. 

As we have before said, he was a Scotchman, and 
a more honourable or bolder Scotchman never left 
his native land. He was about thirty-six years of 
age, tall and well proportioned, weighing nearly two 
hundred pounds, and of extraordinary physical pow- 
er, which was in perfect keeping with his manly 
countenance and lion heart. We recollect him well 
at the battle of Mier, defending with his gallant com- 
pany one of our most exposed situations. He wore 
a bowie-knife at his side, and held in his hand a tre- 


mendous rifle which carried ten balls to the pound ; 
and it was certain death for an enemy to cover his 
sight at three hundred yards. On one occasion du- 
ring the action, a column of the enemy charged so 
near upon his position, along a low stone wall four 
feet high, and not having time to reload, he thunder- 
ed out, in his ever-memorable, glorious Highland 
brogue, "Boys, to your stones /" No sooner said than 
a shower of fifty well-aimed pebbles, about the size 
of one's fist, saluted the assailants, knocking down 
many, and scattering the remainder to the four 
winds. This sensible man, with an intuitive fore- 
cast which he could never have picked from all the 
books of all the wars, previous to the charge ordered 
his company, stationed along the before-mentioned 
wall, to "pile up good-sized throwing-stones," and 
keep them in readiness as a corps de reserve. They 
proved to be as effective as if they had been hurled 
by steam-power ; for the fact was ascertained after 
the battle that several of the enemy were found dead 
without having their skins broken, such was the ef- 
fect of this novel repulse. 

Lieutenant George B. Crittenden, who had been 
also released by order of Santa Anna, came by to 
see us. He was permitted to remain locked up in 
prison with us one hour, and by him we sent home 
many messages to wives, sweethearts, and country- 

Orlando Phelps, who had also been released by 
Santa Anna, came by to see us, which afforded us 


another opportunity to write home. The release 
of Phelps shows that the President of Mexico is not 
wholly destitute of gratitude. When he was con- 
fined a prisoner at Orozimbo, in Texas, the seat of 
Dr. Phelps, in 1836, and failed in his attempt to poi- 
son his guards, he was ironed by Captain Patton, 
the officer in charge of him. This threw such a 
gloom over his destiny, that in a fit of despondence 
he determined to drink the poison prepared for his 
guards. Dr. Phelps succeeded in pumping it from 
his stomach and restoring him, for which he gener- 
ously released his son, and furnished him means to 
return home. 

Owing to Santa Anna's personal hostility to my- 
self, I had nothing to hope from his clemency, and 
but little to desire. With my letter of the 25th of 
April to the President of the United States, of which 
the following is a copy, I had done everything in be- 
half of my unfortunate countrymen which my situ- 
ation would allow, and I determined to migrate to 
Texas, where I could prosecute the argument in a 
different shape. 

" Castle of Perote, Mexico, April 25th, 1843. 

" To his Excellency John Tyler, ) 

President of the United States of America : ) 

" Sir, — This will inform your excellency that I 
am one of two hundred and forty-eight Texians 
who were taken prisoners of war by General Pedro 
d'Ampudia, of the Mexican army, on the 26th of 
December ultimo, at Mier. On the 11th of Janua- 


ry, with the permission of General Ampudia, I ad- 
dressed you a hurried note from Matamoras upon 
the subject of our captivity, and not hearing wheth- 
er said note ever reached its destination, I am indu- 
ced to write again. In the above-named note I 
solicited your intercession, as the head of a neutral 
and friendly power, in our behalf, and in the then 
hurry and limited time of writing, suggested only one 
ground for your intercession, which I then thought 
and still believe, tenable. Since which, other and 
stronger reasons have occurred to my mind in fa- 
vour of your doing so, which you will please per- 
mit me to state more fully. 

"In my note of the 11th of January, I assumed 
the position that a seven years' maintenance of our 
nationality, which is recognised by the most enlight- 
ened and powerful nations of the earth, has taken 
from us the character of a "rebel province" and this 
consideration entitles us to all the tolerations of 
civilized warfare. I was more confirmed in this 
position when I understood that the Mexican gov- 
ernment last summer declared that on their part the 
war with Texas should hereafter be conducted upon 
the strictest principles of civilized nations. This 
declaration I understood to have been made to the 
foreign minister resident near Mexico, with the far- 
ther declaration that "no farther interference upon 
their part should be allowed in favour of the subjects 
of their respective countries who should be found in 
arms with the Texians, but that they would be treat- 


ed as prisoners of war." This principle, so boldly 
avowed in the proclamation of Major-general Aris- 
ta, commanding the army del Norte of Mexico, was 
widely distributed in Texas last spring when inva- 
ded by General Vascus, under his (Arista's) orders, 
and also when General Woll invaded Texas he 
made a like declaration. 

" If, then, the seven years' maintenance of our 
nationality, either with or without this declaration 
on the part of Mexico, entitles us to this considera- 
tion, which I am bound, in respect to those govern- 
ments that have so recognised us, to believe, let us 
see how far it has been carried out. 

" Last spring, when General Vascus invaded Tex- 
as, the sacking of San Antonio and the plunder of 
a very large amount of private property was the con- 
sequence. The fall following, under General Woll's 
invasion, not only was private property taken with- 
out remuneration to the owners, but fifty-three of 
our best citizens, who had, in the hurry of the 
alarm, risen from their beds in defence of their im- 
mediate homes, to oppose, as they believed, a band 
of robbers, were taken and carried into captivity — 
truly and literally abducted. Those Texians who 
fought the battle of Mier consisted of some of the 
most valuable citizen soldiers of our country, who 
assembled under the laws of that country to repel 
an invasion thereof, and surrendered prisoners of 
war under the articles of capitulation herewith en- 
closed, with the most solemn and repeated verbal 



promises of their observance and good treatment by 
the general in command of the Mexian forces. How 
far these promises have been carried out we will 
hereafter inquire. 

" In my note to your excellency, as above refer- 
red to, I stated, that if this principle of civilized 
warfare was to be observed, the Mexican nation was 
still debtor to Texas, in way of exchange or libera- 
tion of prisoners, about five hundred ; that Texas 
had unconditionally liberated about eight hundred 
Mexican prisoners, and that Mexico had only liber- 
ated three hundred Texians ; that, therefore, upon 
every principle of exchange of prisoners, we were 
entitled to our liberation. Since, however, writing 
the above-named note, I have reflected, that inas- 
much as the Texians had suspended hostilities 
against Mexico at your excellency's special request, 
and while at their respective firesides, in the peace- 
ful pursuits of their avocations, some were abducted 
from their homes by that country who, unlike us, had 
refused respect to that request, and others who, in 
obedience to the highest of all laws, had assembled 
to repel invasion, that there is an obligation of the 
highest national character upon your government to 
relieve us from a situation in which an obedience on 
our part, and a want of respect on the part of our 
enemy to said request, has placed us. The request 
I allude to is dated by Mr. Webster, secretary of 
state of the United States, as well as I now recol- 
lect, in July last, to the Honourable Mr. Eves, charge 
d'affaires near the Texian government. 


"I will not stop here to argue, nor do I believe it 
necessary with one of your national dignity and en- 
lightened wisdom, how far friendly nations may in- 
terfere to enforce the observance of those customs 
which the long practice of civilized nations has 
made a law, but respectfully solicit of your excel- 
lency a full consideration of the Texian and Mexi- 
can question. In the absence of all authorities upon 
the subject, being shut up with my brave compan- 
ions in this uncomfortable prison, loaded with irons, 
and treated with all the indignity of state felons, 
much allowance should be made for the opinions of 
one so directly interested. Candour impels me, how- 
ever, to say, that in my humble judgment the imme- 
diate vicinage of your nation to the powers in dis- 
pute fully authorize your interference. If the com- 
promising of your commercial relations and the inter- 
est of your border citizens by this protracted war of 
nearly eight years' duration — a war more in name 
than in any bold attempt by Mexico to subjugate Tex- 
as — if the bold and fearful avowal on the part of our 
enemy for the abolition of slavery in the immediate 
vicinity of your slave states — if the conduct of this 
war, wholly deceptious, uncivilized, and cruel, justi- 
fies such interference, to say nothing about our near 
relationship—that we are of the loins of your man- 
hood, that we are of the same language, religion, 
and laws, and that we are striving to the mainte- 
nance of the same character of government as 
yours — then ought you to interfere. 


" Your excellency will indulge me in concisely 
summing up the history of this war : 

" In its commencement in 1835, the province of 
Texas did not rebel against the old established gov- 
ernment of the mother state, but against a new one 
then sought to be established. In 1836, the close 
of the Mexican invasion with the battle of San Ja- 
cinto demonstrated her ability to maintain her sep- 
arate independence, which the government of the 
United States recognised in March, 1837. Since 
which period, every other nation to whom we have 
applied, including France, England, and Belgium, 
have done the same, and Texas has continued an 
unprecedented growth in settlement and population. 
On the other hand, Mexico has continued a preda- 
tory war upon the borders of Texas, without once 
attempting to resubjugate her by a. formidable inva- 
sion. This predatory warfare has been marked by 
treachery and cruelty on the part of Mexico unpre- 
cedented in the history of civilized nations. She 
has captured our minister plenipotentiary returning 
home under his passports from the government of 
your country, and incarcerated him for months in a 
vile prison. She betrayed the lamented Colonel 
Benjamin Johnson, under the protection of a flag 
of truce, and murdered him in a brutal manner. 
She in cold blood put to death Colonel Fannin and 
four hundred brave men, in violation of his articles 
of capitulation. She betrayed the Santa Fe com- 
mand into a surrender, and violated the most sol- 


emn promises made to them. Last spring she sum- 
moned the city of San Antonio to surrender, and 
plundered her for obedience to said summons. Last 
fall the Anglo-American citizens of San Antonio 
were taken from their homes, because they thought 
fit to defend themselves against, as they believed at 
that time, an unauthorized band of robbers. Last 
fall, after Captain Dawson's company of Texians 
had surrendered to the Mexican army, four fifths of 
them were put to the sword, after their arms were 
given up. To the shame of humanity I have to re- 
cord the basest perfidy on their part yet. At the 
battle of Mier, on the 26th of December last, after 
the Texians had fought them for nineteen consecu- 
tive hours, killing and wounding more than double 
their own numbers, the Mexican commander sent in 
a flag of truce, summoning them to surrender, and 
promising in the most solemn manner, through his 
leading officers and one of the fathers of the Church, 
that " we should be treated with all the honours and 
consideration of prisoners of war." These officers, 
among whom were General De la Vega, and (Col- 
onels Carasco and Blanco, pledging with uplifted 
eyes the straps upon their shoulders, and the priest 
of Comargo, Padre De Lire, pledging the holy Cath- 
olic religion to their observance. The Texians, 
ever credulous, as brave men are, surrendered, while 
still they had formidable means of resistance in their 
hands. The result of that surrender produced from 
the general in command the enclosed articles of ca- 


pitulation, which were read to all of our officers by 
his Mexican interpreter, " with all the honours and 
considerations of prisoners of war" we not being al- 
lowed our interpreter at the reading. We after- 
ward learned the true reading of this article to be, 
" with all the considerations consequent upon the mag- 
nanimous Mexican nation." As representatives of a 
people unused to such low cunning, and believing 
that with any civilized nation the obligation of good 
treatment would be as binding under this article as 
under the one which had been so solemnly promised, 
we were for a time content, and the more so under 
the disposition which the Mexican commander, 
General Ampudia, evinced in carrying out his prom- 
ises. Soon after which we were sent to the capi- 
tal of Mexico, from whence we have been in- 
carcerated in this prison, coupled together with 
cumbrous iron chains, and made to do not only the 
servile labour of policing the filth — not of our crea- 
tion — but doing the work of mules and oxen in pack- 
ing in stones and sand about one mile, and upon the 
most indifferent rations. The greatest infamy is 
still untold ! When General Fisher, myself, Cap- 
tain Reese, and Lieutenant Clarke remonstrated 
against the performance of degrading labour, we 
were gravely told by the governor-general here that 
we were not prisoners of war, and could claim noth- 
ing under our articles of capitulation. Let me tell 
the worst ! I have just learned that seventeen of 
my brave companions have been lotteried for, and 
shot in cold blood. 


" If this catalogue of human outrage on the part 
of our enemy, and their sending, time after time 
emissaries into your country to stir up the Indians 
to their murderous warfare upon our borders, with 
other and numerous good reasons too tedious for 
rehearsal in this letter, can claim your interference, 
then let me beg it in behalf of my unfortunate and 
brave companions. Our desire is that we should be 
liberated, because it is just that we should be ; and 
then that the war should be conducted upon prin- 
ciples of civilized warfare, because we are too brave 
to retaliate by such dastardly perfidy and cowardice. 
Let this be done, and we are willing, anxious, and 
able to carry on the war. I have the honour, very 
respectfully, to be your excellency's obedient servant, 

" Thomas J. Green." 

I received many letters from the United States 
expressive of the anxious solicitude of my friends in 
my welfare, all of which I acknowledged with the 
warmest gratitude. I am particularly indebted to 
President Tyler, the Honourable Messrs. Mangum 
and Haywood, senators, and Mr. Graham, late sen- 
ator from North Carolina ; the Honourable John C. 
Calhoun, and others, for the warm interest they 
manifested towards me. The usefulness, however, 
of my friends was impaired, from the fact that my 
political connexion with Texas prevented them from 
coming under pledges of my not taking up arms 
against Mexico. The following extract from my 


letter to Mr. Calhoun denned my position : "Eight 
years of the prime of my life, and a considerable 
portion of my fortune, have been spent for the es- 
tablishment of liberty in Texas ; therefore my 
friends must see that I am too closely identified 
with her to take my liberty upon conditions which 
may compromise my political relations to her, and 
I hope they will avoid any promises of that kind." 
So long as the war shall continue with Mexico, 
those who know me will require no assurance that 
I shall be found in the foremost ranks of her ene- 


Preparation to Escape. — Procuring a Map of the Road. — Deceiving the 
Officer with Shaving Tools. — Work upon Breach in the Wall. — Letter 
to our Prisoners in Mexico. — Santa Anna's Birthday. — President Hous- 
ton's Orders to Colonel Snively prevents our Liberation. — Commodore 
Moore off" Campeachy. — Prosecution of the Breach in the Wall. — Lay- 
ing in Provisions to Travel. — Last Visit to " Guts." — Quarterlero. — 
Voos, his Rheumatism, and Grunts. — All decline the Escape but Six- 
teen. — Left Papers with Colquhoun. — Note to Santa Anna. — Take 
Leave of our Friends. — Turnkeys. — Mode of Counting. — Locking up. — 
Deceiving the Sentinels : mode of. — Monte Bank.— Bull-dance. — Com- 
mence going Out. — Toowig. — Ike Allen : his Fall. — Character.— 
Beeve's Bladder. — Aguardiente. — Governor. — "Guts" and the Dia- 
logue. — Stone hung in the Hole. — The Herculean John Young. — 
Passing the Sentinels. — Their Hailing. — Our Response. 

Now that my usefulness either to myself or my 
fellow-prisoners was at an end, I determined to re- 
turn to my country, or perish in the attempt. To 


escape from this strong place, guarded as it was 
with the most unremitting vigilance, was considered 
impossible by the Mexicans, and the project requi- 
red the greatest caution, coolness, and calculation. 
I made known my determination to Captain Reese, 
who agreed to join me in the enterprise, and also to 
stake his life upon the issue. 

Our first plan was to scale the different walls, the 
height of which we could carefully estimate by the 
eye, during some stormy night when the sentinels 
could be most easily passed. We accordingly set 
about making arrangements. 

Our ignorance of the country, and the insur- 
mountable difficulties of so mountainous a region, 
rendered it first necessary that we should have a 
map to travel by, and this could only be obtained in 
the city of Mexico. I accordingly wrote to a friend 
to procure the article. He returned for an answer 
that on a certain day he would pass Perote in the 
stage on his way to Vera Cruz, and that I must 
meet him at the stage-office, if it were possible to 
procure the governors permission. The stage pass- 
es Perote three times per week on its way to Vera 
Cruz and back. The stage-office is in the town of 
Perote, about one mile from the castle; here the 
stages meet, one running from Vera Cruz, and an- 
other from the city of Mexico ; this is the stopping- 
place for the night. They arrive usually about four 
or five o'clock in the evening, on which days it was 
usual for the governor to permit one, and sometimes 



two of our men to go out under a strong guard to 
get our papers and letters. I went to the governor, 
and asked permission to go to the stage-office, which 
he granted, sending an officer and six soldiers as a 
guard. When I reached the stage-office the coach 
from Mexico was already in, and my friend waiting 
my arrival. We were old acquaintances, but nei- 
ther appeared to know the other. He had in his 
pocket the map I was so anxious to procure, but 
how was that to be given to me ? The officer did 
not leave my side three feet, and the soldiers stood 
single file upon each side of the door. 

After some minutes, my friend, who spoke the 
Spanish language well, stepped up to the officer, 
and pointing to me, he said, " Is not that a Texian 
prisoner ?" " Yes !" replied the officer. My friend 
walked around me, and eyed me from head to foot 
as a thing of much curiosity ; then turning to the 
officer, remarked, "Well, such is the fortune of war: 
will you join me in something to drink ?" There 
are very few Mexican officers who will refuse a 
drink of aguardiente, if it cost them nothing, and he 
readily consented. My friend, again turning to the 
officer after taking the drink, said, " Shall I offer the 
poor prisoner some ?" " If you please," was the 
reply. I stepped up to the counter, and while ta- 
king a drink, received a hunch from the elbow of 
my old friend. In a little time he again asked the 
officer to drink, and again his invitation was accept- 
ed, the officer taking a " stiff pull" each time. He 


soon became good-natured and loquacious ; was 
eloquent in giving this stage-passenger a history of 
the Texians, their mode of warfare, &c. ; said that 
we were very daring, and could shoot out one's eye 
at three hundred yards with our big rifles, and 
wound up by depicting my character, performances, 
&c. He said that I had had Santa Anna prisoner 
once in my country ; I ought, therefore, to be close- 
ly watched, as there was nothing too daring for 
these people to undertake. This new stage-ac- 
quaintance stepped into the adjoining room, and 
returned in a few minutes with a razor, hairbrush, 
and comb, so folded in a rumpled paper that their 
ends plainly shown. He remarked to the officer 
that " that poor fellow looks as if he would be the 
better of a good razor : can I have the privilege of 
giving him these shaving tools If " Certainly," re- 
plied the officer. He handed them to me, with a 
wink which I well understood. I carelessly took 
the package in my hand, and walked back to the 
castle by the side of the officer, he little dreaming 
that the rumpled envelope was a lithographed map 
of the country between Vera Cruz, via Perote, and 
the City of Mexico. This survey had been made a 
few years since by order of the government for a 
railroad ; the rivers, mountains, and passes were 
plainly marked. When I reached my prison safe 
with it, one important difficulty was surmounted. 
My friend Lodovic Colquhoun, being a good 
draughtsman, made several copies of it. 


Passing in and out of the castle to the stage-office, 
I had estimated the height of the walls from the bot- 
tom of the great moat to the top of the bastion. 
This I was the more easily enabled to do from 
counting the number of layers of squared stones, and 
multiplying that number by the thickness of each. 
This ascertained, the next difficulty was to procure 
a rope of sufficient length to tie to the carriage of 
the artillery, pass over the wall, and reach to the 
bottom. The rope could be purchased in town, but 
the difficulty was the getting it in the castle. This 
we accomplished by sending time after time, and 
purchasing short pieces, that it might not attract 
notice. These several pieces once in our prison- 
room, were easily made into one by the sailor 
experience of several of our companions. It is 
about as easy for the old sailing-master to splice a 
rope as it is for a landsman to cut one in two. 

Our preparation had progressed thus far with en- 
tire success, but yet there were many difficulties to 
overcome, one of which was to elude the vigilance 
of the officer at lock-up time. 

At six o'clock in the evening we had to be count- 
ed before being locked up for the night. If we 
were out of the room, how were our places to be 
supplied 1 This we could do by getting our inter- 
preter to say that "there lie two very sick," point- 
ing to our mats, carefully folded over some baskets, 
and our hats laying as if they covered our faces. 
The probability of the officer taking it for granted 


was the risk we had to run. In the mean time we 
would be in a stable opposite our prison-room, and 
concealed with our rope under some straw. At a 
few minutes before nine, having chosen a stormy, 
cold night, we could crawl past the sentinel upon 
all fours, and then climbing up against the gate, and 
one standing upon the shoulder of the other, could 
reach the top ; then descending upon the opposite 
side by the rope, the first holding one end for the 
other to descend by, one being over, he could hold 
the rope for the other to ascend by, and thence to 
the shoulders of the first. This operation would 
place us upon the steps, which would ascend to the 
top of the castle, and by carefully crawling past the 
upper sentinels, and tying one end of the rope to 
the wheel of a cannon, we could descend to the bot- 
tom of the moat. 

With all our arrangements completed for our mi- 
gration, we were yet prevented from so doing at 
this time, on account of the following circumstances: 

In the centre one of our prison-rooms, which 
contained thirty-six of our countrymen, a few lion- 
hearted fellows determined also to make the attempt 
at escaping. They had commenced the operation 
of going through an eight feet wall, and if Captain 
Reese and myself escaped by scaling the walls, 
which we now considered pretty certain of accom- 
plishing, it would, consequently, break up all farther 
chances of others doing so by any means whatever. 
We then determined to join in the plan of going- 
through the walls, and all escaping at the same time. 


The breach was in progress of being made, sev- 
eral weeks having been spent at work on it, and all 
who determined upon the hazard were in high 
spirits, when we were informed, through General 
Thompson and several other sources, that we would 
be released on the 13th of June, Santa Anna's birth- 
day. Indeed, our information appeared to be so au- 
thentic we did not doubt it, and consequently knock- 
ed off from our work upon the breach in the wall. 
General Thompson wrote down to us to make prep- 
aration for going home ; and, knowing that the yel- 
low fever was raging at Vera Cruz in its most ma- 
lignant form, I feared that our countrymen would go 
to that place in advance of any preparations for sail- 
ing, and fall victims to the disease, as did many of 
the Santa Fe prisoners the year previous. I address- 
ed the following note to our countrymen in Mexico : 

" Castle of Perote, June 5th, 1843. 
" To Captains Ryan, Pierson, Baker, and other ) 
Texian Prisoners of War at Mexico. $ 

" Friends and Countrymen, — Since our separa- 
tion I have heard of your difficulties and trials, at 
which my heart has sorely bled ; at the same time, 
we have not been without ours. If we have suffer- 
ed much, it will be a consolation beyond all price 
that it was for our country, and in the cause of lib- 
erty and equal rights ; and while we mourn the loss 
of one fifth of our brave companions, let us believe 
that our country and posterity will do them and us 
justice. We are taught to believe that justice, eter- 


nal and all-pervading, is the peculiar province of 
God ; and under this bright hope the time must come, 
when, in recounting our wrongs, we may point with 
pride to the debit side of the account. 

" We are informed from various unofficial sour- 
ces, besides through the letters of the United States 
minister in Mexico, that we are to be liberated on 
the 13th instant To see you all safely landed at 
home once more is my weightiest care ; and, know- 
ing that but few r of you have the means, I have ta- 
ken some steps to procure a vessel at Vera Cruz, by 
the time of your arrival, for your transmission. 
Should we be liberated on that day, I have advised 
our companions here to stop at Xalapa, about thirty 
miles distant, until I can go to Vera Cruz and per- 
fect an arrangement for their sailing, as it would be 
very dangerous for them to remain in that place, 
where the yellow fever is already bad. I also ad- 
vise you to come to that place, where you will join 
your comrades, and where I hope to meet you with 
the arrangements for sailing. 

" I beg, my dear friends, that all and each of you 
will accept my warmest feelings for your happiness 
and welfare. Thomas J. Green." 

The 13th of June drew near, and every officer 
we met told us that " in a little time we would leave 
that place and return to our country and friends.'' 
The soldiers, by way of congratulating us, in then- 
mixture of Spanish and English, would make a flour- 


ish peculiar to the Mexican people, dash their right 
hand through their left in the direction of Texas, 
and say, " Poco-tiempo Texas" (Texas in a little 
while). Even this from the most stupid soldier flat- 
tered our desire ; but still, the 13th came and went, 
and no liberation. The next day it was promised, 
but the next failed of liberation. The next, and still 
the next, came and passed under a like promise 
from our officers, bringing with each successive day 
the chagrin of disappointment to take the place of 
joyous hopes. 

In a few days, however, letters from the capital 
explained the secret of our detention. President 
Santa Anna had changed his determination of liber- 
ating us as soon as he was informed that President 
Houston had sent out a party under Colonel Snively 
to rob the Santa Fe traders. In Houston's order to 
Snively it was stipulated that " the spoils should be 
equally divided between the government and the cap- 
tors." Thus, after his open and violent denunciation 
of the conduct of General Somerville's command at 
Laredo, he stipulates that the Republic of Texas 
shall be a party to this robbery, and a recipient of 
the stolen goods. This news cast a still darker 
gloom over our destiny ; we felt it keenly, because 
in it we saw our government officially degraded. 
That influence which President Houston had ex- 
erted in suppressing the national enthusiasm of 
avenging our wrongs— in keeping back Generals 
Rusk, Mayfield, and other gallant spirits from stri- 


king boldly upon the Rio Grande for our liberty — 
was now employed in the petit larceny of waylaying 
the road, and robbing a few harmless traders of their 
handkerchiefs and calicoes. 

With this disgraceful intelligence from our coun- 
try all hope of speedy liberation vanished, and we 
again set to work upon the breach in the wall. 

One circumstance, however, cheered us on in our 
work, and lightened our country's accumulated dis- 
grace : that was, that every mail brought us news 
that our little navy, and the gallant Commodore 
Moore, was off Campeachy, and had beaten and 
blockaded ten times his naval force. Our corre- 
spondent in Mexico sent us private word that 
Moore had taken the Mexican steamers, and such 
was the belief for many days in Mexico. This 
was glorious news, and it exhilarated our spirits to 
the highest degree. We made all the inquiry in 
our power to ascertain the practicability of reach- 
ing Moore at Yucatan by land, but found it im- 
practicable, from the many hundred miles we would 
have to perform, through both a mountainous and 
a swampy country. 

As the reader has been previously informed, our 
arched cells were twenty feet wide by seventy long, 
with a door at one end opening in the castle, and 
a loophole at the other opening upon the outside, 
underneath which is the great moat. This loop- 
hole is a small aperture, upon the outside about foui 
by twelve inches, and gradually widening through 


the eight feet wall upon the inside to about two 
feet. Could we have pursued this aperture by wi- 
dening it, our labour would have been less ; but 
soon we found, from the hard character of the stones, 
and the secure fastenings immediately around the 
hole, difficulties which, with our poor means of 
operating, were impossible to surmount. We con- 
sequently struck off to the left, leaving these diffi- 
culties entirely to our right, and prepared to bore 
through the solid masonry. 

To avoid discovery, both from the sentinel at the 
door and the officers when they came in the room 
upon inspection, a careless rap upon the door or 
post by our look-out man was sufficient for the oper- 
ator in the hole to lie low. These men engaged in 
the work alternately, as only one at a time could 
operate, and he was secreted by the shutter enclo- 
sing the loophole, and blankets carefully hung 
about it. The labour was extremely tiresome, as 
the hole had to be made horizontally through the 
wall, and consequently required the operator to lay 
upon his abdomen, and rest upon his elbows, which 
position, after a few hours' work, became very pain- 
ful. After working his tour, he would gather up 
the fragments of stone and mortar which his labour 
had detached, and bury them under some loose 
stone and brick in the floor. As the quantity thus 
buried would raise the pavement too high, it would 
be taken out under our blankets, and emptied into 
the comun, privy. 


The tools with which we operated were narrow, 
inferior carpenter's chisels — >the Mexican tools were 
generally of an inferior kind, which our carpenters 
would bring from the shop. Some of our men were 
carpenters and wheelwrights, and were employed 
in the carpenter shop making artillery carriages; 
and as they would have to come to their meals, and 
sleep in the same prison-cells, they would smuggle 
the chisels out of the shop under their blankets. 
The reader will understand that our men had to 
wear blankets over their shoulders as an essential 
portion of their wardrobe ; and as they despised 
Mexican fashion too much to give it that peculiar 
a la Mexicana sling about the arms, they wore them 
a la Texas, by first suspending the blanket over a 
string, then tying the ends of the string round the 
neck; and he who was so fortunate as to have a 
warm one felt as proud as a Roman senator with 
his ermined toga. The Texas mode, however, of 
wearing the blanket, though different from that of 
the "blanketed nation," afforded both comfort and 
ample means of smuggling. 

As a water-drip will wear away the hardest gran- 
ite, so the breach in the wall gradually grew deeper 
under our incessant labour. This work was prin- 
cipally accomplished by drilling holes into the stone 
and mortar with the chisel, and prying off small 
pieces; and frequently, after a hard day's labour, 
not more than a hatful could be disengaged. The 
greatest difficulty, however, was, that as the hole 


grew deeper, it grew smaller, and the position of the 
operator rendered it next to impossible to avoid this 
difficulty ; so that when the hole reached the out- 
side of the wall, it had a funnel shape, the outer end 
being reduced to ten by fourteen inches. On the 
first day of July the hole had been drilled down to 
a thin shell on the outer side, which could be easily 
burst out, after the final preparation was made for 

For some weeks previous to our escape, those 
who intended to go were busily engaged, every safe 
opportunity, in completing their arrangements — fix- 
ing their knapsacks, saving all the bread they could 
procure, laying aside every cent to purchase fat ba- 
con and chocolate. Having been furnished money 
by a friend in Mexico, I was enabled to supply sev- 
eral with sugar, coffee, and bacon, which compen- 
sated for my lack of work in the hole. 

We considered it imprudent to start with less 
than two weeks' rations each, as we calculated to 
be all of that time in the mountains before venturing 
into a settlement to replenish our stores. To buy 
so large a quantity at one time might lead to suspi- 
cion as to what purpose we wanted them for, as 
heretofore our purchase had been of the smallest 
character. To avoid this suspicion, we had been 
for weeks buying a little at a time. At length, Sun- 
day, the second day of July, opened upon us with a 
favourable symptom. This day we had an officer 
of the guard who was considered less particular in 


counting and inspecting us at lock-up times ; and 
though we wished to celebrate the sixty-seventh an- 
niversary of our forefathers' independence by our 
emancipation from the prison, yet we considered 
this too favourable an opportunity to lose. We pass- 
ed the word for all who intended to go to be in 
readiness by night. 

I went round to old Guts' s quarters and purchased 
my last bacon, chocolate, and sugar. I found the old 
fellow exceedingly polite, and when I laid his money 
upon the counter, he insisted upon crediting me for 
the amount, saying that I might have use for the 
money. I told him, " Short settlements make long 
friends." He thanked me for my custom, and hoped 
that I would continue to deal with him. I replied, 
that the next purchase I made in the castle should 
certainly be from him. So far I have kept my 

In each of the prison-rooms one of our men were 
detailed and exempt from work, whose duty it was 
to sweep the room, receive the bread, count it out to 
each man, and be responsible not only for the gen- 
eral police of the room, but also for the safety of 
everything in it. This officer was termed "quar- 
terlero," and Voos held the appointment for the cen- 
tre room. 

About an hour before we were locked up, I met 
Voos with his head and jaws tied up, and limping 
along with the greatest apparent difficulty. "What 
is the matter, Voos V ' said I ; when, after turning his 


head very carefully upon his shoulders, and rolling 
his eyes up in the sockets with the graceful affecta- 
tion of a sick maid, then turning round and survey- 
ing well the premises, he replied, " General, I am 
quartelero of the centre room, and it is very neces- 
sary for me to have the rheumatism and go to the 
hospital before you leave, or I shall catch it to-mor- 
row." At this moment an officer hove in sight, and 
Voos hobbled on. It was the officer of the guard 
bringing in the surgeon of the hospital to examine 
Voos's rheumatism. He pronounced it a very bad 
case, and in a few minutes four soldiers brought in 
upon their shoulders a palanquin, upon which Voos 
was carefully laid, when they bore him from the 
castle in the most tender manner under the reitera- 
tion of the most doleful grunts. 

This witty Dutchman passed me with a cunning 
wink, but did not forget to grunt; and, until he was 
shut out from our sight by the outer gate, these lu- 
gubrious sounds came back to those who were in 
the secret to excite their risibility at the best comedy 
of the season. 

It was considered the safest plan, after getting out 
of the castle, to pair off, and not more than two or 
three go together, as, the smaller the company, the 
more easily they could secrete themselves, the whole 
not being sufficient to carry on either offensive or 
defensive operations to advantage. 

Under this arrangement I had selected Dan, main- 
ly on account of his speaking the language of the 


country. I had a pair of saddlebags, which we 
divided and made into two knapsacks, which were 
filled with fat bacon, a bag of ground coffee and 
pounded sugar, with several cakes of chocolate, and 
one hundred dollars in silver. I divided out my 
blankets, sheepskins, and clothing among my com- 
panions, putting on the most indifferent upon which 
my name was not seen. Our countrymen who 
worked in the carpenter's shop had made each a 
walking cane of the sapote wood, which is very 
heavy and strong. These canes, and a pocket knife 
each, were our only weapons of defence. 

Several, who had previously determined to come, 
from prudential motives now declined it, as they 
considered, and very rightly, that getting through 
the walls of the prison was the least difficult part 
of the undertaking. To escape several hundred 
miles through an enemy's country, speaking an un- 
known tongue, was a difficulty which could not be 
too cautiously weighed. If retaken, all calculated 
to be shot ; and we farther calculated the chances 
of success greatly against our reaching our country 
in safety. 

Knowing President Santa Anna's personal hos- 
tility to myself, and believing that all he wanted 
was some reasonable pretext for having me shot, I 
believed it was worth my life to be recaptured, and 
the chances of escaping were ten to one against 
me. Some of my friends have considered this at- 
tempt rash, but these were the questions I had to 


settle with my own conscience, and which I did, 
divested of all passion : Could I be of more service 
at home to my unfortunate countrymen prisoners ? 
and was it more honourable to myself and my coun- 
try to draw in such a lottery, and perish in the at- 
tempt, or longer live the life of an insulted slave 1 
My conscientious duty pointed me to hazard, and I 
embraced it without fear. 

Sixteen of our number finally determined to make 
the effort. Of the sixteen, Richard Barclay, R. 
Cornegay, John Forester, John Dalrymple, Thom- 
as Hancock, Isaac Allen, John Young, Davis, Stone, 
Beck, and Elley, were inmates of the centre prison- 
room, through which the breach had been made. 
John Toowig and D. C. Ogden belonged to the right- 
hand room; Captain Reese, Daniel Drake Henrie 
(Dan), and myself, belonged to the room on the left. 
To transfer ourselves from the outside rooms to the 
one in the centre, and get some of the inmates of 
that room to supply our places and elude the vigi- 
lance of the officers at lock-up hour, was a ticklish 
business and required much address. 

I left my papers in charge of my friend Ludovic 
Colquhoun, who, in expectation of a close search 
after it was discovered that we were gone, care- 
fully buried them. Several weeks after he forward- 
ed them through Colonel John Bradley, who was 
released by Santa Anna through the intercession of 
General A. Jackson. 

I left a note upon my table for President Santa 


Anna, which I desired Colonel Fisher to hand to 
the governor at counting time next day, in which 
I exculpated the officers of the castle from either 
knowledge of our going, or neglect of duty in closely 
guarding us. Justice to these officers required me 
to say thus much ; and I here repeat that not a liv- 
ing Mexican in the castle knew anything of it until 
after our escape. I also stated to Santa Anna that, 
" not having been trusted upon my parole, which 
neither the love of life nor fear of death could have 
induced me to forfeit, and the climate of Perote not 
suiting my health, I should, for the present, retire to 
one in Texas more congenial to my feelings." 

At half past five I took leave of my friends, and 
a sad parting it was. Most who remained believed 
it was a voluntary sacrifice of ourselves, and few 
believed it possible for us to escape. I never shall 
forget that hour. As we grasped each other's hands, 
most believed for the last time, the big tear filled 
the eyes of those brave men, and they wished me 
success with an utterance which showed their hearts 
were overflowing. Said they, " God grant that you 
may reach home in safety, for then we know we 
will be fearlessly and truly represented.' , Colonel 
Fisher said, "As you have determined upon the 
hazard, though the chances are greatly against you, 
God grant that you may reach home in safety. I 
know you will do us justice, and will be of infinite- 
ly more service to us there than here." We left 
our prison room and passed into the centre one, 



from which three of its inmates passed into ours. 
Two from the same room also changed places with 
Toowig and Ogden. 

At 6 o'clock we heard the turnkey, with his ugly 
load of securities clanking their dull music to the 
blast of many bugles in the great plaza. It was a 
moment of intense excitement, as a discovery of one 
man out of his place would blow up the whole plot. 

The evening was dark, and there was a cold rain, 
which was the most fortunate circumstance, as the 
officer would not require us to form in front of our 
prison doors. The men were ordered to form in 
our respective rooms, the back ends of which were 
measurably darkened. At the remote end of the 
lines from the doors, those who had changed places 
had taken their stations, with slouched hats, and 
their blankets well muffled about their faces. In 
such positions, and on so dark an evening, it would 
have required a close inspection to have told each 
one from his face. Still it was deemed prudent 
that Captain Ogden and myself should lie upon the 
floor, with our blankets drawn close around us, and 
when the count commenced, to have one of our 
men standing by to say, " Here are two fellows muy 
malo" (very sick). In the event that the officer 
should inspect us still closer, we were to muffle our 
faces, and grunt as if we had the stomach ache ; for 
frijoles were very excellent to give one pains in 
those parts, and such pains were not uncommon 
among us. 


We selected places upon the floor near each 
other, and continued to crack our jokes even in 
this excitement. I thought, in the event of our dis- 
covery, our situation would not be so ludicrous as 
that of Prince Talleyrand, when, at sea, he assu- 
med the apron, greasy face, and flesh-fork of the 
cook, as an English cruiser hove in sight. The 
captain of the vessel said that the great diplomatist 
" could stand as much like a cook, hold his flesh- 
fork as much like a cook, and look as much like a 
cook, every way, as if he had been born and raised 
in a caboose." With such an example, could we 
fail to represent the frijoles pains 1 

The count commenced in the right-hand room, 
and presently we heard the heavy doors grating 
upon their hinges, with the shaking of the keys, 
which told us, so far, " all's well." The next mo- 
ment they were in the centre room; the turnkey 
with his huge bunch, the counting sergeant, and the 
officer of the guard, with the quickly-repeated order 
"Formarse, formarse" (to form). The count was 
made, and two were missing, when our lamented 
friend, " Tecolote," sung out, with an admirable 
mixture of confidence and sympathy, pointing, at 
the same time, to Ogden and myself upon the floor, 
" Here is two muy malo? "Bueno" (very good) 
was the quick reply of the officer, and the next 
moment they passed out, pulling the door after them 
with a heavy crash. The like operation of shut- 
ting the door in the left-hand room told us that 


thus far we had succeeded to our most sanguine 

We had now to divert the attention of the senti- 
nel at the door, as he could, by standing tiptoe upon 
the sill, look in through the grates at our operations. 
This we managed to great perfection. 

We first made the fellow good-natured by giving 
him vino mascal through the grates in an eggshell : 
nothing larger could be passed through. Next, some 
of our men, who were not engaged in getting out, 
spread a blanket down nearest to the door, on which 
was placed two candles, and four or five engaged in 
a game at monte. We had provided the players 
with a hatful of " clacos" square pieces of soap about 
one and a half inches each, with the stamp of the 
state, or person issuing them, upon the sides, and 
worth one and a half cents each. Here was a 
brisk game kept up, to the greatest possible interest 
of the sentinel, and, to enlist him still more, the play- 
ers were ordered to give him some "clacos" to bet. 
He would pass his soap through the grates, and di- 
rect upon which card they should be bet. Of all 
nations under the sun, the Mexicans are the most 
inveterate gamblers ; and though the monte bank was 
well calculated to divert him, yet the necessary noise 
we had to make in passing through so difficult a hole 
in the opposite end of the room required other pre- 

Next to the monte bank, some eight or ten were 
engaged in a " bull-dance," being the only one we 


could perform in our "jewelry ;" the twenty pound 
festoons which coupled the partners not being well 
adapted to the " chasse" and " balance" they had to 
go it " dos-a-dos." They danced to poor " Teco- 
lote's" music, who, at the conclusion of every set, 
would either give his inimitable owl- whoop, or " flap 
his wings" and crow, very like the gamest cock that 
ever graced a pit. When the dancers would tire, 
there were others ready to join in a chorus which 
drowned all our noise. Between our breach and 
the door blankets were also hung up, which more 
effectually hid our operations. 

At seven o'clock we commenced our final prep- 
arations before emerging from the room. This was 
to remove the shell of the wall yet upon the outside, 
then to make one end of the rope fast inside of the 
room, and pass it through, by which we would have 
to let ourselves down to the bottom of the moat. 
When this was done, it was found that the breach 
was too small upon the outside to admit of any but 
the smallest of our men passing through it, and re- 
quired two hours hard work to scale some pieces of 
stone and mortar from one side of it, so as to permit 
the larger ones to pass. This required until nine 

All things being now ready, John Too wig, a gal- 
lant son of the Emerald Isle, got into the breach feet 
foremost, and, drawing his bundle after him, inch by 
inch squeezed out, and let himself down hand over 
and about thirty feet to the bottom of the moat. 


The depth and smallness of the hole rendered this 
operation exceedingly slow. Another and another 
followed, and at half past twelve, after three hours 
and a half hard labour, all of the sixteen had safely 

As Isaac Allen (Ike, for short) made his appear- 
ance upon the outer aperture, he said, " Stand from 
under, boys ; I can't say whether these hands are 
gwine to hold ;" and no sooner said than the laws of 
gravity landed Ike in the midst of us. The sand 
being about ankle-deep, it was an easy fall, and he 
rose as if nothing unusual had occurred. 

Ike previously had the contents of his gun passed 
through both hands, which weakened his hold, and 
was the cause of his falling. He had seen much 
service fighting for liberty in Texas, had been in 
many Indian hunts, and had met danger with as little 
fear as any man. It was one of his chief delights to 
hate the Mexican nation, and if he had a greater 
pleasure, it was in telling the Mexicans of it. On 
account of the crippled condition of his hands, he 
had been separated from his partners, as he told them 
that " his hands would not pack stones," and he was 
permitted to wear his chain single. He, on one of 
the days when it was positively forbidden by the 
governor to sell us aguardiente, had paid his devo- 
tions too assiduously to a certain bladder we have 
had occasion to speak of, when, feeling keenly his 
own and his country's wrongs, he strutted forth in 
front of the governor's quarters, singing at the top of 

"guts" and the dialogue. 319 

his voice, " Viva la Texas !" (long live Texas !) The 
old governor came out in the greatest rage, and sent 
for " Guts" to know what that land robber meant by 
insulting him in that manner; and threatened "Guts" 
severely on account of his getting brandy. Old 
" Guts," full of wind and wrath, brought out his 
guard at a charge bayonet, and rushed Ike off to the 
solitary calaboose. 

"Now," says Guts to Ike, "you bloody robber! 
I will keep you here until you rot, unless you tell 
me where you got your brandy from." 

" Well," says Ike, " I got it from you." 

" You audacious rascal !" says Guts, " how 7 dare 
you say so 1 Don't you know it is false V 

" Yes," says Ike, " I know it is false, Guts ; but I 
will tell the governor I got it from you ; he knows 
how far you will go for a medio, and will believe 
me ; and I will swear it, too, on the largest cross 
upon the Bible." 

"Not," says Guts, "upon the holy cross?" his eyes 
dilating with horror at Ike's heresy and the fear of 
the governor. 

" Yes," says Ike, " I'll be if I don't, Guts ; 

and, what is more, the governor will give you 

for selling me the aguardiente!' 

Ike's rhetoric was convincing, and this experimen- 
tum crucis, though bold, was entirely successful. 
Guts swelled with anger, then thought of the gov- 
ernor, then paused, and then opened the door of 
the calaboose, and said to Ike, " Go out of here ! 


I'll not have anything to do with such a heretic." 
What tale Guts concocted for the governor we know 

Ike was no less a gallant than a gallant man. 
He was tall — women, in general, like tall men 
best— and wore an air of confident nonchalance, 
which bespoke his boldness — and women like bold 
men best. It was not strange, therefore, that Ike 
should have been a favourite with the ladies, for 
with them he had more credit than any man in the 
ranks. The luxurious Nina would always credit 
Ike, and any sergeant's wife in the castle would trust 
him for the washing of his camisa. On these wash- 
ing days, Ike, having but one shirt, would fold his 
blanket close about him d la Mexican; on the other 
days his Republicanism made him wear it a la Texas. 

On one occasion Ike went into the dormitory of 
his washerwoman for his clean shirt. She had boil- 
ed it so well — boiling was necessary to prevent the 
incubation of the piojos eggs — and she had ironed 
it so smooth, that a man of less gallantry than Ike 
could hardly fail expressing his profoundest grati- 
tude therefor. So, after sundry bows, he commen- 
ced. " Concedame, Senora, esta gracia" — Madam, 
grant me this favour ; and, suiting the action to the 
words, impressed a tender kiss upon the cheek of 
the cabds wife. She, thankful for the condescen- 
sion, commenced replying, " Lambre de mis ojos"— 
Light of my eyes, when in popped the corporal, 
her husband, with a shoemaker's awl in his hand, 


and, not waiting for an explanation, ran furiously at 
Ike, and " socked" it in the thick of his back "smack 
up to the handle." 

Ike, never so little dismayed as in the heat of 
battle, seized this petit officer by the collar, and 
dragged him forth in front of our prison rooms, call- 
ing at the top of his voice for Lieutenant Gomez, 
the officer of the guard. Gomez came quickly up. 
and all of the Texian prisoners gathered around Ike 
to know the difficulty. He was in a tremendous 
passion, and soon explained that the corporal had 
stabbed him in the back. 

"What for Y[ exclaimed twenty of his indignant 

" Nothing under heaven," says Ike, " but my re- 
turning thanks to his wife for the washing of my 

"How returning thanks?" repeated a dozen of 
his comrades. 

"Why," says Ike, with a thundering oath, "can't 
you thank a body for a thing V 

" Yes ; but is that all you said V 

" As God is my judge !" replied Ike, with increas- 
ed emphasis, " all except kissing her." 

This last explanation of Ike's filled us all to over- 
flowing with laughter, but still we kept it in, not 
knowing the extent of his wound. 

The officer of the guard was still not satisfied, 
and Ike continued in his most passionate tone, 
half Spanish, half English, and swearing that he 



would take satisfaction himself of the corporal un- 
less he was duly punished. 

Lieutenant Gomez still wanted ocular demonstra- 
tion of the injury, when Ike, loosening his belt, let 
fall his pantaloons to the ground, and stooping down, 
first the lieutenant, and then we, inspected his wound. 
Instead of finding a knife or sword cut, we saw the 
blood oozing from an orifice the size of a brister- 
shot, which for the first time explained to us that he 
w T as stabbed with a cobbler's awl ; and, turning to 
the affrighted corporal, still in the clutches of Ike's 
left hand, saw that the awl had only gone in up to 
the handle, and not more than two inches deep at 

This discovery, and the farce which preceded it 
and was still going on, proved a matter of rare mirth 
with the Texians ; and Gomez, to appease Ike's 
wrath, had to march the disconsolate corporal off to 
the calaboose, leaving the wounded caballero behind 
to explain with Senora Cabo how innocent a thing 
it was " to return thanks for the washing of a ca- 

* Since writing the above, poor Ike has paid his last debt. After be- 
ing liberated by Santa Anna with the other San Antonio prisoners, he 
landed in Galveston with the yellow fever in June, 1844, from on board 
the United States war-steamer Poinsett, which terminated his eventful 
life at about thirty-five years of age. Quite a volume might be written 
of the most stirring incidents about this fearless man. He had some 
good qualities in a high degree. His love of country was no less remark- 
able than his love of friends. On one occasion, when he had a friend 
killed in Bastrop county, Texas, he determined to avenge his death ; and 
while the person charged with the killing was upon trial in open court. 
Ike went in and fired a pistol-shot at his head, which, though not proving 


John Toowig was a son of Old Ireland, a small, 
energetic man, and a true-hearted Republican. His 
size and energy both befitting the operation in the 
hole, he had done more than his share of the work. 
He was the same who, in the spring of 1842, at San 
Antonia, put a match to a keg of powder and blew 
up his store, with several thousand dollars worth of 
goods, rather than they should fall into the hands of 
the Mexican General Vascus. It was less difficult 
for him than some others to get through the perfo- 
ration in the wall. I found much difficulty in pass- 
ing through, though I was now reduced from one 
hundred and sixty pounds, my usual weight, to one 
hundred and twenty. The gradual funnel-shape of 
the breach made it like driving a pin into an auger- 
hole, for the deeper we went, the closer the fit. 
The smallest of us having gone through first, for 
fear that the largest might hang in the hole and 
stop it up, it now came to Stone's turn, who was a 
large man. 

He hung fast, and could neither get backward nor 
forward. In this situation, being wedged in as fast 

fatal, wounded more than one. On another occasion, at San Antonio, in 
1837, Dr. G. picked a quarrel with Ike, which resulted in the death of the 
former. Though public opinion did not justify the manner of the killing, 
yet little sympathy was felt for G., who had just previously wrongfully 
charged young Lawrence, of New-York, with stealing his money ; and 
when L. demanded satisfaction for the injury, killed him in a duel De- 
forcing upon the party challenging the use of the rifle, of which he knew 
nothing. The death of the highly-injured and amiable young Lawrence, 
who fell in so manly a defence of his honour, was much regretted when 
it was afterward known that the real thief was his second in the duel. 


as his giant strength could force him, our friends on 
the inside of the room, who had been assisting us, 
had to reach in the hole, tie ropes to his hands, and 
draw him back. This operation was very like draw- 
ing his arms out of his body, but did not satisfy him. 
" I have a wife and children at home," says he, " and 
I would rather die than stay here longer : I will go 
through, or leave no skin upon my bones." So say- 
ing, he disrobed himself: his very great exertion, caus- 
ing him to perspire freely, answered nearly as well 
for the second effort as if he had been greased, and 
he went through after the most powerful labour, 
leaving both skin and flesh behind. 

John Young, if anything, was a larger man than 
Stone, but was much his junior in years : he was as 
supple as a snake, and no Roman gladiator ever 
exhibited more perfectly-formed muscles : nor was 
his determined temper in bad keeping with his phys- 
ical conformation. He was the last that came out ; 
and while the balance of us sat under the side of 
the wall, we feared that it would be impossible for 
him to get through. Presently, with the aid of a 
dim sky above us, we saw his feet slowly protruding, 
then his knees, and when he came to his hip joints, 
here for many minutes he hung fast. When this 
part of his body was cleared, the angular use of his 
knees gave him additional purchase to work by ; but 
still our boys said, " Poor fellow ! it will be impos- 
sible to get his muscular arms and shoulders through." 
We sat under him with an agony of feeling not to 

J awfc-R \ T 5 


' ' '/ 


| ■ 



be described, while he ceased not his efforts. His 
body was now cleared to his shoulders, but still he 
hung fast. Having the full purchase of his legs, he 
would writhe, first up and down, and then from side 
to side, with Herculean strength ; and when he dis- 
engaged himself, if it was not like the drawing of 
a cork from a porter-bottle, it was with the low, 
sullen, determined growl of a lion. 

Being now through our greatest difficulty about 
the castle, we adjusted carefully, though silently, our 
knapsacks and blankets, passing orders from one to 
another in low whispers, which were interrupted 
alone by the almost perpetual cry of '" centinela alertd' 
of the sentinels above us, both upon the right and 
left bastions, and between which we had now to 
pass. The moon had gone down at 8 o'clock; 
and being favoured by the darkness in the bot- 
tom of the moat, through which the sentinels over- 
head could not penetrate, we slowly crossed over to 
the outer wall in Indian file, then felt along the wall 
until we came to a fi^gjal of narrow steps eighteen 
inches wide, up which we crawled upon all-fours. 
When we reached the top of the wall, which form- 
ed the outer side of the moat, we passed on to the 
chevaux de frize, which was about twelve feet high, 
of pointed timbers set upright in the ground. These 
upright timbers passed through a horizontal sill about 
six feet from the ground, which we could reach with 
our hands, and then pull ourselves up, from which 
we could then climb over the sharp points of the 


upright posts, thence down to the bottom of the 
outside ditch, up the outside bank of which we 
crawled, it not being walled. When we reached 
the top we breathed more freely, for we were now 
in the wide world, and felt more like freemen ; and 
as the sentinels drolled out their sleepy notes of 
" centinela alerta" we jumped up, and cracked our 
heels together three times, as a substitute for cheers 
three times three. 



Two hundred Yards east of the Castle. — Separation. — Parting Speeches. 
— Pass the Powder-house. — Meet with Reese and Toowig. — Divide 
Rations with. — Take to the Mountains. — Residence and Sufferings in 
— Return to the Valley. — Charge of Cavalry and Escape. — Separation 
from Toowig. — Narrow Escape from a Precipice. — Make Coffee. — Ap- 
proach to Jalapa. — Our Distress from Sore Feet and Thorns. — Entry 
and Peregrination in the City. — Our Location in the Suburbs. — Re- 
entry, mode of. — Don : his Wife, and warm Supper. — Meet Toowig. 
— Residence in City. — Kind Treatment. — Robbers employed, and we 
delivered over to them in a dark Hollow. 

As the castle bell tolled " half past twelve," we 
were in the open common, about two hundred yards 
east of the outer ditch. Here we had to await the 
return of Ike Allen, who had gone ahead with Cap- 
tain Reese, Ogden, and Toowig, on the following 
account : 

Reese, Ogden, and Toowig, who were more flush 


of funds than the balance of us, had, previous to 
leaving the castle, perfected an arrangement, through 
a friend living at a considerable distance from Pe- 
rote, to have a confidential guide and three extra 
horses near by on this night. The guide was to 
kindle a fire as a signal, one mile east of the castle, 
between the hours of ten and one, at which fire 
they were to have met ; then to ride with relays of 
horses, and get into Vera Cruz ahead of the alarm. 
The guide, as we afterward learned, came to the 
place, but owing to some shepherds astir in the 
neighbourhood, they failed to kindle the fire through 
fear of discovery. Ike had accompanied these gen- 
tlemen to the appointed place to meet a second 
guide, who was promised just previously to this time 
to be there on foot, and to conduct us a blind way 
through the mountains to the seacoast near Vera 
Cruz, at a place where vessels occasionally anchor 
off to water. Here the balance of us were to be se- 
creted until our sailing arrangements were com- 
plete. The signal-fire failing, Ogden and Ike re- 
turned, leaving Reese and Toowig still in search of 
the promised guide. 

We were now thrown back upon our original 
plan of escaping in pairs, and after shaking hands, 
and wishing each other a safe, if not a pleasant jour- 
ney, we separated in the following manner : 

Little Tom Hancock and Forester were consid- 
ered the best walkers in the crowd. Tom was a 
great woodsman ; he had the organ of the honey- 


bee in a high degree, and facing himself to the north- 
east, then looking over his left shoulder to the north 
star, so as to form an acute angle to that luminary, 
he pointed his sapote staff dead ahead, and said, 
" Boys, this will bring me to the Gulf of Mexico, 
and then I shall know where I am. I will have 
nothing to do but to follow round the left of the 
pond to Texas." Thus saying, Tom and Forester 
started, and Captain Ogden, being disappointed in 
his horse arrangement, went with them. 

Ike, facing a little more north than Tom, but still 
keeping the north star upon his left, said, " Boys, 
this will bring the Rio Grande, where I am well ac- 
quainted with every path and crossing, and about 
this time my cattle and mules are in good driving 
condition, so God bless you all." Thus saying, he 
moved forward, his two comrades following. 

The Herculean John Young, who stood well 
built and six feet two under a slouched hat and 
thirty pounds of fat bacon, split the difference be- 
tween Tom and Ike. He was a man of but few 
words, and saying, "A thousand miles this course 
will reach Texas — that's nothing," he and his chums 

Dick Barclay had much of the polarity quality in 
his composition. His frequent Indian hunts in 
Texas had well tested his locality organ, and he 
struck a course still east of Tom, his comrade fol- 
lowing in silence. 

Dalrymple was left alone, his partner having de- 



clined coming ; he said, " Well, boys, here is for the 
city of Mexico," and obliqued to the right for the 
main stage-road. 

Myself and Dan took the other end of the road 
for Vera Cruz. My plan was to pursue it rapidly 
until daylight, and then turn into the mountains of 
Cofre de Perote, which lay upon our right. 

In leaving the castle, our friend Major Bugg prom- 
ised to fold up a dirty-looking blanket, as near the 
colour of the wall as possible, and so fill in the hole, 
as the breach upon the outside could not be easily 
discovered. Thus we had every confidence that our 
escape would not be known before counting time at 
nine o'clock next day. Consequently, I pursued the 
road with no fear of arrest that night; the only 
probability was that we might meet with some rob- 
bers. We passed along the road at a brisk walk, 
occasionally stooping low, surveying the horizon to 
see whether any one was moving. When we reach- 
ed the powder-house, as the " molino de polvora" was 
called by us Texians, which was three miles from 
the castle, many dogs of " low degree" flew out as 
if they would certainly take us. From experience, 
we knew how cowardly were the Mexican dogs, 
and kept our way, only balancing our sapotes in our 
hands in case of necessity. 

About five miles farther on we came to a brisk 
little creek, running over a bed of round pebbles. 
Here we laid down to drink ; and while quaffing the 
pure mountain liquid, we heard a noise in the road 



from the direction in which we came as though some 
persons were in pursuit. Having the advantage of 
the horizon, from our stooping position we could 
soon see two figures approaching to within a few 
feet of us, and as I gathered a round stone in each 
hand, and was in the act of throwing, one of them 
hailed in English, " Who's there 1" We at once knew 
it to be Reese's voice, and was greatly rejoiced that 
he spoke so soon, as we intended first to fire, and 
then to tail. It was Reese and Too wig, who, hav- 
ing been disappointed in finding the guide and horses, 
were now thrown upon their own resources, and 
without provisions, for the guide was to have fur- 
nished them. 

Very fortunately, Dan ana myself were supplied 
with twenty days' rations each, and we divided with 
them. We pursued the road several miles farther, 
passing a large hacienda, and every variety of " bark- 
ing dogs," until we heard a noise ahead. Stooping 
down, we saw some persons in the road, and it being 
near daylight, concluded to turn off to the right and 
make for the mountains. 

The only kind of shoes we could procure in the 
castle was a thin kind of goatskin slippers, only fit 
to be kept dry and worn in the house. In a little 
time, walking through the wet grass, they would 
stretch and come to pieces. Our feet not only suf- 
fered from the sharp mountain stones, but we had 
become greatly enervated from our prison life, and 
our fatigue was excessive. Those who had labour- 


ed in the castle could stand the fatigue much the 
best. Before it was fairly light we had ascended 
the mountains so high that we left all the settlements 
below, and a brisk rain which had fallen had not 
only thoroughly drenched us, but it also rendered 
our pursuit impossible, by obliterating our tracks. 
After we had got so high into the mountains as only 
here and there to see the traces of the shepherd, or 
the sign where some Peon had burned his charcoal 
for market, we selected a dark cove and lay down 
to rest. 

With the assistance of our map and a pocket 
compass we knew our general course, and started 
before sundown, but the almost bottomless ravines 
and inaccessible mountains succeeded each other 
so quickly that our progress was slow and fatiguing 
beyond anything we had yet experienced. Wind- 
ing around the base of a mountain, the perpendicular 
sides of which it would have been impossible to as- 
cend, we would come to an abyss, down the sides of 
which we would have to feel our way, inch by inch, 
with the greatest caution, which much retarded our 
general progress. This was the work of evenings, 
nights, and mornings. At length our provisions were 
becoming rapidly diminished, and we determined to 
descend into the lowlands. 

This was during the " rainy season," for in Mex- 
ico it rains nearly all the time from June to Octo- 
ber ; consequently we were nearly all the time wet. 
If we caught enough sun about the middle of the 


day to dry us, it was to be succeeded by another 
drenching at night, which, in that snowy region, 
made us suffer intensely from cold. The constant 
rains made the mountain sides nearly as slippery 
as soap ; this made our way still more difficult. 
Where such heavy labour was performed, much 
drinking of water was necessary, and the rains fur- 
nished this blessing iu abundance. We would drink 
at every brook, and fill our gourds, which would last 
to the next. 

Having descended many miles the valley of a 
bold creek, which, from our map, we judged to be 
the head of a river leading through the Valley of 
Jalapa, we crawled into some bushes after daylight 
to sleep. Here we were first aroused by a heavy 
rain and several shepherd boys, who came so near 
that it would seem impossible for them not to have 
seen us. We lay as close to the ground as if we 
had been so many snakes, but watched closely their 
countenances : had they discovered us, we would 
have emigrated sooner than our regular hour. We 
were in a valley which now rapidly descended, and 
about, sundown we again took up our march. Soon 
we struck a path, but its precipitous descent and rich 
black soil, made in the highest possible degree slip- 
pery from the continued rains, rendered our descent, 
if possible, more fatiguing than the ascent. Our 
feet and legs skinned, swelled, and excessively sore, 
with the general stiffness of limbs, " rusted with a 
vile repose," and a great want of muscular action 


from cold and rains, we had but little power of hold- 
ing back, and frequently slipped and fell with great 

At daylight we were in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of a thick settlement, and took lodging in 
some bushes and weeds upon an elevation, from 
which we could see below us people cultivating 
their fields. Here we waited until near night, when 
we again set forth. Descending into the valley still 
below, and crossing a small field, we met a Peon 
with a hoe upon his shoulder, returning from labour. 
This poor fellow was exceedingly alarmed, but af- 
ter our assuring him that we intended no harm, we 
asked him the way to Jalapa. He commenced a 
difficult direction, when we determined to take him 
with us as a guide at least part of the way ; then 
ordering him to go ahead, he led us down a bold 
creek about two miles to a crossing, and then told 
us to take the right-hand end of the road, which 
would lead us to the molina, and thence to the city. 
We gave him a piece of silver, and he took the 
other end, much relieved from his alarm, which our 
outlandish appearance occasioned. The right-hand 
end led immediately across the creek and through 
a gap, with a high mountain on each hand. We 
had proceeded but a few hundred yards, Toowig 
and Reese in advance of Dan about fifty yards, and 
he in advance of me about fifty yards, my feet being 
badly swollen and skinned, and distressingly sore, 
and I hobbling on at a tedious gait, when I discov- 


ered four ranchero cavalry emerging from the gap 
in the mountains through which we had to pass, 
and coming immediately towards us. I hallooed to 
my comrades to look to the front, but by this time 
they had met, saluted the caballeros with apparent 
confidence, and passed on. Dan did the same, and 
I followed suit with the best of my poor Spanish. 
I kept my eye well over my shoulder to watch their 

When they had passed about one hundred yards, 
they wheeled their horses' heads together, and, after 
a hurried and very excited consultation, dashed back 
upon me in full charge. I called my comrades to 
return to my assistance — that these fellows were 
charging upon me, at the same time facing them, 
and mixing up in an angry tone the worst Spanish 
and English oaths. The only weapons I had upon 
my person were my tongue and sapote walking- 
stick ; the first I freely used, and the other I held in 
reserve for close quarters ; but, as Providence would 
have it, the fate of war had now halted me in the 
midst of a rich supply of thro wing-stones, and I did 
not consider the odds very unequal. Had I turned 
my back upon these knights, I should have fallen an 
easy prey under their cutlasses ; this I knew, and I 
determined to fight it out upon the spot. The 
foremost of these fellows had by this time reached 
within fifteen or eighteen steps of my position, and 
the instant I expected the battle to commence, he 
filed suddenly to the left, the others following at 


full speed. They dismounted in great haste at a 
house some hundred yards opposite me, as I judged, 
for the purpose of procuring re-enforcements. 

I turned to look after my comrades. They, nor 
understanding what I said when I called to them, 
and believing that these fellows were the advance 
of a stronger force, had dashed into the thick mount- 
ain brush, Toowig upon the right, and Dan and 
Reese upon the left of the road. I hurried on, and 
went into the same place where I had seen the two 
last enter. Here I found them, and we scrambled 
up a precipice too steep for cavalry to follow, and 
lay down under some thick bushes to rest. Dark 
came on before these fellows could complete their 
preparations for pursuit ; and after resting, and giving 
our private whistle for Toowig, whom we could not 
bring up, we set out in a different course, leaving 
the Peon's direction to our right. 

Our course this night was over an excessively 
broken country, alternate mountains and valleys of 
exceeding height and fearful depth. Briers, thorn- 
bushes, and sharp stones impeded our progress, and 
made the labour of the foremost much the most dif- 
ficult. Accordingly, we alternately took the lead. 
When it came to my turn to lead, we fell into a 
path comparatively level, which we pursued several 
hundred yards, the end of my walking-stick always 
ahead of me about two feet, feeling the way. At 
length I felt no bottom, and from habit stopped as 
quick as thought, not making another step, at the 


same time speaking to my companions behind to halt. 
Stooping down where I stood, with my walking-cane I 
reached as far as my arm would allow, but still I found 
no bottom ; and, after laying down and straining our 
eyes, we discovered the appearance of tree tops far 
below. Changing our course, w 7 e felt our way down 
a steep descent of at least one mile to a valley, the 
creek through which washed the base of the danger- 
ous precipice we had just escaped. How inscruta- 
ble are the ways of Providence ! One step more, 
myself, then Reese, and then Dan would have fallen 
a thousand feet — for no alarm from the foremost 
would have reached the next— leaving no one on 
earth a knowledge of our destiny. 

Having passed through several cultivated fields in 
this dark valley — for, when we looked back upon 
our frightful escape, we likened it to the " Valley of 
Death" — daylight found us again lying under our 
wet blankets in some thick bushes. We rested a 
few hours, being much exhausted, and suffering 
greatly for want of refreshment. We had coffee and 
chocolate in our knapsacks, but for fear of raising 
smokes we had only on one occasion used any. 
Hearing the roaring of a cataract at some distance 
below, we determined to get water, seek a dark and 
secure place, and make coffee. We traced the roar- 
ing of this waterfall, and found it at the bottom of a 
dark and deep hollow, overlapped with a thick foli- 
age. From the brink of the hill no one could be 
seen below, while we below could easily discover 


the approach of any one from above. Here we 
made a small fire, and, with the assistance of our 
pint tin, we made cup after cup, until we were 
greatly relieved. The roar of the waters prevented 
our being heard, and we, after bathing our feet and 
legs, luxuriated in a good chat, for most of our in- 
tercourse had been carried on by signs and low 
whispers, which had become irksome. 

From the distance and general course we had 
travelled, we believed that we were not many miles 
from the city of Jalapa, and the paths all converg- 
ed in the direction which we believed the city lay. 
Before night we left our cooking place, and skirted 
along the cultivated fields, avoiding the paths, as we 
expected the different entrances to the city w r ould 
be guarded. We had not gone many miles before 
the ringing of the city bells could be plainly heard ; 
and having understood that the city lay in a valley 
between two mountains, which were now plainly 
seen in the bright moonlight upon our right and left, 
we for the first time understood our precise locality. 
Our plan was now to leave the city to our right, and 
follow round the base of the mountain to our left ; 
strike into the valley of the river, which our map 
showed led to the seacoast, thence follow it down. 

We bore to the left to avoid the city, and cross- 
ing many stone fences covered with prickly-pear 
and briers, which surround the little cornfields, 
were sorely lacerated. The more we tried to avoid 
the city, the thicker, it appeared to us, became the 



settlements ; and a succession of these small fields 
and stone fences for several miles exasperated us to 
a degree which made us indifferent to the conse- 
quences. We determined then to strike south into 
the heart of the city, and play our game boldly. 

Of all nations, the Mexicans are most devoted to 
bells, to which they attach much superstition, their 
cities being filled with them, and of which they make 
a perpetual use. Their constant ringing during our 
peregrination in the neighbourhood told us how the 
city lay, and we had no difficulty in striking through 
its centre. By Indian file we passed up one street 
and down another, under our broadbrim ranchero 
hats, with our shoulders and knapsacks covered with 
our darkly-variegated blankets, which we had been 
careful in procuring before leaving the castle. To 
the frequent " quien viva' of the sentinels we made 
no reply, but kept our course in silence. It appear- 
ed to us that there were more dogs in this town than 
we had ever before seen at one place ; and though 
they barked in an angry tone, as if they knew us to 
be strangers, yet they kept at a respectful distance 
from our sapotes. 

We had been reconnoitring the city for three 
hours, and as daylight drew near we determined to 
go a short distance south and select a lodging for 
the next day, which would overlook the whole place. 
In the southern suburb of the town we found a po- 
sition admirably suited to our views. It was an 
insulated conical mound, such as are frequently seen 


in the valleys of Mexico, rising out of this valley to 
several hundred feet, and covered with high weeds 
and brush. Upon the apex of this cone we took 
our lodging, not judging, from the appearance of 
the weeds, that it was often ascended. Here, in 
our wet clothes and blankets — for we had just had 
the benefit of a cold, drenching rain — we lay down 
upon the wet ground, as close together as we could 
get, and spread our wet blankets over us, covering 
us entirely up. The steam which our respiration 
created under the wet blankets soon warmed us, and 
the greatest distress we experienced was in turning 
over; for in laying together as compact as three 
spoons, this had to be done at one time, and by 
common consent. In these turnings the cold air 
would rush in, and the change it would produce in 
our feelings, if not a good illustration of the collap- 
sing of a steam boiler, explained the philosophy of 
some of the northern nations wetting their cover- 
ings to keep them warm at night. 

We remained in this situation until ten o'clock 
next day, when we rose to take our position to sur- 
vey the city below. Here we studied its geography 
until night, many persons passing near the foot of 
the hill, but no one ascending it. As soon as it was 
dark we started into the city, and coming to a di- 
lapidated church upon the right of the street, around 
which grew some high weeds, Reese and myself 
seated ourselves by the side of the wall in the weeds, 
and sent Dan ahead. He was to pick up some 


common looking Mexican, and give him a real to 
conduct him to the house of our friend. Dan had 
not proceeded far before he employed a suitable 
guide, which his knowledge of the language render- 
ed easy. In reaching the door of our friend, he, with 

a cunning wink, said to Don , as he opened it, 

"I have brought your watch, which your brother sent 
up from Vera Cruz." "Ah," says the Don, "come 
in ;" and, shutting the door after him, a word ex- 
plained who he was, and that myself and Reese 
were by the side of the old church. The Don put 
on his blanket, and came down with our concerted 
signal; he gave the true sign; we followed him in 
silence, and when w r e entered his house, found his 
good sefiora preparing a warm supper, with a most 
delightful toddy ready mixed. 

Those, and those alone, who have experienced 
like suffering, may form a reasonable estimate of our 
present happiness : once more under a kind roof, 
with a smoking supper before us — what inexpress- 
ible felicity ! 

We were conducted after supper to a secret 
hiding-place, where we found Too wig carefully 
ensconced, having gotten into the city one night 
ahead of us. This was the first intelligence we 
had of him since we separated in the mountains 
three nights previous. Here we remained five days, 
and were treated with a kindness by these good 
people we never shall forget. Mexican women are 
kind-hearted to a degree, which makes their good- 


ness contrast singularly with the vices of the men. 
Our feet and legs were bathed and poulticed ; and 
we sent out and purchased good shoes, and all the 
paraphernalia of the mountain ranchero, prepara- 
tory to our farther journey. Here we luxuriated 
in a great variety of tropical fruits grown in the 
neighbourhood, and by the sixth night we had be- 
come so far resuscitated from our mountain fatigues 
as to be able to proceed. 

Don , whose name we regret the improprie- 
ty of mentioning, as it would doubtless occasion him 
persecution from his government, was known to us 
from a long negotiation. No one knew better than 
he the country and its inhabitants, from Santa Anna 
down to every mountain robber of decent reputa- 
tion. His pride was greatly enlisted in our success, 
and he had ample means of assisting us. 

At 10 o'clock of the sixth night, the Don said to 
us, " Prepare to follow me, and ask no questions." 
We did so, and he led us through the city into a 
dark valley about two miles off, and after telling us 
to hide in the bushes, he went about one hundred 
yards farther down the hollow, and bringing a shrill 
whistle, a tall, well-made, active man, about thirty- 
five years of age, came to him. A very few words 
were passed between them, they having been to- 
gether the night previous, and perfected all arrange- 
ments. The moon shone bright ; they came in the 
direction of where we were concealed in the shade 
of some bushes, and called to us to come forth. 


" This man," said the Don, " you must follow, but 
ask no questions. My express ahead will complete 
every arrangement for you in Vera Cruz, and be 
under no alarm as to the result ; this man knows his 
business." Both the place and circumstances wore 
much the air of mystery : it looked like " treason, 
stratagem," and murder ; and to our question, " Might 
not this fellow betray us for the reward 1" " No," 
says the Don ; " / have looked to that. He," point- 
ing to our conductor, " is the most noted robber and 
murderer in Mexico, and is in more danger of lo- 
sing his head than you. He dare not show himself 
to the authorities." Thus saying, we took affec- 
tionate leave of the generous Don, he returning to 
the city, and we following our silent conductor down 
the hollow. 




Head Robber.— Coming to the Horses.— Signal.— Silence.— Winding 
around Precipices. — Narrow Paths. — Sure-footed Animals. — Puente 
Nacional. — Rio Antigua. — Lying in Swamp. — Hot Breakfast. — Lodg- 
ed in vacant House. — Gray-bearded old Man. — Meeting Robbers. — 
Enter Antigua. — Cavalry Officer and the Gray-bearded old Man. — 
Narrow Escape from the Officers and Guards. — Crossing the Ferry, 
and deceiving the Officer. — The Gray-bearded old Man's Exultation. — 
Taking the Road to Manga de Clavo. — Secreted for the Night. — Head 
Robber goes into Vera Cruz. — Our Location next Day. — Vessels at 
Sea. — Sand Storm. — Head Robber arrives with Don E. — Start for the 
City. — Storm and Separation. — Arrival near the City Gates. — Suspi- 
cions of the Head Robber. — Bad Night. — Don E. finds us next Day. — 
Our Entry into the City. — Parting with Robbers. — Valedictory of the 
Gray-bearded old Man. — Our Hiding-place. — United States Friends. — 
Dick Barclay. — Recapture of our Comrades. — A Look into the Castle 
after the Denouement. — Surprise, "Wonder, and Astonishment. — The 
Governor, Guts, and the Children. 

Silently, and in single file, we followed our dark- 
looking conductor down the hollow, and in a dismal- 
looking place, in a second ravine, we came upon 
his companion, holding by the bridle five mules and 
horses. A whistle and an answer told that all was 
right. The head man placed a bridle into each of 
our hands without saying a word, then drew from 
his goatskin bag a bottle, out of which he drank, to 
satisfy us that it was not poison ; then passing it to 
us, we all drank, and returned it. Stowing it care- 
fully away, he turned to the east, and placing the 
fore finger of his right hand perpendicularly across 


his lips, which was a caution for silence, pointed in 
the direction he faced, and gave the sign to mount. 
We mounted, and followed on a narrow, winding 
path, leading through deep ravines and broken cliffs 
until daylight, not one word passing between us 
during this long ride. At the appearance of day he 
turned off the trail, and went into the hollow of a 
mountain covered with thick shrubbery. Here he 
dismounted, and giving us the sign, we did the same. 
Placing by our side his goatskin bags filled with 
provisions and a gourd of water, he told us that 
night precisely at 8 o'clock he would come, and we 
must answer a particular whistle which he then 
made. So saying, he and his comrades led away 
the horses and mules. After eating, we laid our- 
selves upon the ground, and slept soundly until near 

At eight o'clock P.M. we heard the concerted 
whistle, and answered it, when our robber stealthily 
approached, with the never-failing caution of his 
fore finger across his lips. He made the sign to fol- 
low, which we did, and after winding us through a 
very rough tract for about a mile, another whistle 
and its response discovered to us his companion, 
holding our animals. 

At the given sign we mounted, and followed this 
night, as we had done the last, under that dead si- 
lence, which made our journey the more oppressive. 
Our rugged and winding way through the mount- 
ains, which caused us frequently, in the same hour, 


to travel to every point of the compass, showed that 
our conductor knew the country well. Our faithful 
animals, so well used to that mountainous region, 
were astonishingly sure footed. Frequently, in pass- 
ing around almost perpendicular cliffs, in paths ex- 
ceedingly stony and frightfully narrow, with a dark 
abyss on the one hand and a perpendicular mount- 
ain on the other, the thought of our animals stum- 
bling would make our hair stand on end. Those, 
however, who are used to these paths seem not to 
apprehend danger, and they have the utmost con- 
fidence in their animals, which pick their way with 
a loose rein, and seem to know the necessity of a 
sure foothold. 

Nearly the whole of this night we rode in a heavy 
rain, and for two hours in the most tremendous 
storm. About one hour before daylight we ap- 
proached the Rio Antigua, near the puente nacional, 
and across the great road leading from Vera Cruz 
to the capital. Keeping the river to our right, we 
travelled through a flat, marshy bottom until day- 
light, when we were told to "dismount and lay 
low." We had been drenched the whole night 
with a cold rain, and had now to repose in water 
ankle deep, which covered the bottom. Excessive 
fatigue soon brought sweet sleep to us, from which 
we were aroused at noon by the known whistle of 
our guide. 

He had under his blanket a delightfully-cooked 
chicken, eggs, and tortillas, smoking hot, which 



showed that he was in the vicinity of his accom- 
plices. We never enjoyed a meal better. After we 
had finished eating, he threw around his shoulders 
his dark-coloured serape, and with his usual sign of 
silence disappeared through the bushes. 

Everything in this life is good by comparison. 
We had slept several hours, and a sumptuous meal 
made us feel vastly more comfortable ; but yet we 
were deprived of our dessert, for Dan could neither 
sing " Long, long ago," or the " Soldier's Tear." 
After whispering to one another our anecdotes, we 
slept several hours more, when our well-known 
whistle again started us. Our guide approached 
and beckoned us to follow him. After half an hour 
winding us through a boggy bottom, we came to an 
unoccupied hut, built of bamboos, and covered with 
palm leaves. Here he told us we might sleep this 
night, as he must rest his horses ; that he had some 
friends at hand, and if any alarm should be given, 
we must disappear in the thick bushes near by. 

In a short time he again returned with a new 
friend, a long gray-bearded, though athletic old man. 
The old man greeted us very kindly, with many 
professions of devotion to our interest, and from his 
signs we readily recognised him to be a brother in 
the same cause as our guide. We gave him two dol- 
lars to procure us supper, and, after an absence of 
an hour, he returned with one smoking hot, which 
we the more enjoyed, as our clothes were now meas- 
urably dry. The old man lived in the immediate 


neighbourhood, and, true to his promises, he and his 
family kept a close watch over us that night and 
the next day. 

At sundown our horses were brought up, and an 
additional one for the gray-headed old man, who, 
with all his travelling paraphernalia, showed that he 
meant to see us safe through our journey. This 
veteran, with all the pride of many years, mounted 
upon a gay, plaited-tailed charger, rode ahead of the 
party. He was a man of ready words and many 
compliments ; next to him came our head man, of 
much less address, who knew that our greatest 
difficulty was yet to encounter. This night we 
met frequent companies of smugglers and robbers, 
but the gray-bearded old man passed them with as 
much ease of address as one could speak to his 
neighbour upon a court green. We would follow 
in our dark robber costume without saying a word, 
and doubtless passed as citizens in the same trade. 

Our course still lay down the River Antigua, 
and on the personal estate of Santa Anna, through 
a dense forest of large trees, many of which were 
new to our northern raising. Among the most 
remarkable was the celebrated banian-tree, of the 
fig family (Ficus religiosa), which has been so long 
regarded by the Hindoos with religious venera- 
tion. This tree has the singular quality of ex- 
tending long horizontal branches from the trunk, 
about twenty or thirty feet above the ground, and 
throwing out roots from these branches, which will 


continue to grow downward through the open air 
until they reach the ground, take hold, and them- 
selves become trunks. We observed a vast number 
of these trunks, covering a large extent of ground, 
all united in one common covering of dense foliage, 
and each trunk giving the like support to the others, 
as well-set and well-braced pillars in an edifice 
would to its aggregate of strength. An immortal 
bard makes this the kind of fig-tree from which our 
first parents procured their first aprons : 

" There soon they chose 
The fig-tree - t not that kind for fruit renown'd. 
But such as at this day, to Indians known, 
In Malabra or Deccan, spreads her arms, 
Branching so broad and long, that in the ground 
The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow 
About the mother tree a pillow'd shade. 
***#--* *** 

***** Those leaves 
They gathered."* 

The undergrowth consisted of limes and other 
tropical fruits. It was necessary that the Antigua 
should be crossed before reaching Vera Cruz, and 
the only practical point of so doing was at the small 
town of the same name near its mouth. This place, 
which we entered about ten o'clock at night, has 
been for many years a noted place for smuggling. 
Vessels anchor off the mouth of this river under pre- 
tence of getting fresh water, which affords them a 
good opportunity to carry on the contraband trade. 
The wide and dense bottom which lay upon each 

* See Book IX. of Milton's " Paradise Lost." 


side of this river, interspersed with circuitous paths, 
known only to smugglers and robbers, affords ample 
shelter for this illicit trade. Here our old man was 
well acquainted; and when we entered the town, 
he drew up his horse opposite a store, with a light 
burning on the counter, where a Mexican caval- 
ry officer was writing at the desk. He whispered 
to us not to dismount ; that he would go in and 
buy some cheese and crackers for our supper, and 
see " how the land lay." 

Upon entering the house, he appeared to be well 
acquainted, and rolled out his salutations with his 
usual volubility. The cavalry officer first addressed 
him, "Who are those upon their horses in the 
street? I have been sent here with my troop 
these two weeks, with orders to send every foreign- 
er without passports to the Castle of San Juan de 
Ulloa. Do you know that sixteen of those daring 
Texians have escaped from the Castle of Perote, 
and several of them are yet abroad?" Before the 
old man had time to reply, the officer added, " As 
soon as I finish this note, I will examine their pa- 

The old man, with his ready wit, replied that 
"they have all got passports, and from the Eng- 
lish minister at that, and they are going home," 
at the same time setting a large tumbler of aguar- 
diente before the officer with many compliments. 
He drank to the venerable old man, and resumed 
his writing in much hurry, so as to examine our 


The old man continued talking with his usual 
vivacity, and threw another dollar upon the counter 
for more brandy, and before the note was finished 
the officer had to stop and take another drink. 
Watching his opportunity, the old man slipped out 
into the street and spoke to the head robber to 
"pat off in haste, and cross the ferry as soon as 
possible," while he would stay and drink with the 
officer. The ferry was at the other end of the 
town, about four hundred yards distant, and we 
made as little delay in reaching it and getting into 
the boat as possible. We had barely started from 
the store before the officer came into the street to 
examine our papers, when the old man remarked 
that he expected we would wait for him at the 
ferry. The old man now feigned to be highly ex- 
cited with drink, and mounting upon his fiery horse, 
swept by them as though he could not control the 
animal. He reached the ferry just as we were get- 
ting into the boat, and the shortest explanation 
show T ed the necessity of our hurry. 

The old man had no sooner spoke to our head 
robber than he threw his lasso over a limb of a tree 
which stood upon the bank, and ran back to meet 
the officer. He knew that one minute of time was 
of the last importance to us; and meeting the officer 
about one hundred yards from the ferry, he said, 
" They are waiting for us," and drawing his bottle 
of aguardiente from his goatskin bag, he passed it to 
the officer; then he took a drink with a long speech 


of salutations, and begged the officer to let him pass 
it to his guards. This was granted ; and it gain- 
ed us those few minutes of time necessary to our 
liberty. When they arrived at the ferry we were 
half way across ; the old man appeared in a tower- 
ing passion, and bawled out to us " to stop upon the 
other bank until he came over;" he then turned to the 
officer and said, " Senor, you need not trouble your- 
self farther about those foreigners: III vouch for their 
passports ; but if you would rather, go over with me 
and examine for yourself." In the mean time, while 
the boat was returning, the bottle was freely passed 
between them, the old man feigning both to drink 
and to be drunk. It was no sham with the officer, 
for by the time the boat returned for them, he was 
willing to take the old man's word for the passports. 

As soon as we had crossed, we put off in the di- 
rection of Vera Cruz, and stopped upon the road- 
side to wait for our good old friend, and to keep a 
bright look out who was with him. 

In a few minutes the boat recrossed, and we dis- 
covered that only one passenger was in it ; and as 
the old man galloped up to where we awaited him, 
he proudly clapped his hands upon his breast and 
said, " It is useless for young boys to try their wits 
with me ; I have been too long in the service." 

The old fellow strutted to and fro, and recounted 
the adventure with the self-satisfaction of a Wel- 
lington after the battle of Waterloo. He concluded 
his speech by turning to us and saying, " Now, ca- 


hatlerds, you have but one more danger before you, 
and trust this old head for that." So saying, we 
moved on. 

We were now fifteen miles from Vera Cruz, and 
just ahead of us the road forked, both leading to it, 
the one via the seacoast, and the other via Manga 
de Clavo, the seat of Santa Anna. By mistake, the 
old man took the right-hand road, which led by 
Santa Anna's house. He had gone but a few hun- 
dred yards before he stopped, and, after a thought- 
ful look, turned to us with that slow wave of the 
fore finger peculiar to that nation, and said that " it 
was not good for us to travel that road," and after 
shaking his jolly sides with a good hearty laugh, he 
wheeled to the left, and soon fell into the one lead- 
ing by the seashore. This road we travelled about 
five miles, until we reached the mouth of the river, 
where we crept into the bushes and slept till day- 
light. The head robber, when we stopped for the 
night, informed us that he would go to Vera Cruz 
and arrange for our entry, and that we must remain 
under charge of the old man and his companion till 
his return. 

At daylight we changed our lodging by crawling 
into a cluster of bushes upon the top of a conical 
sandhill, which commanded a view of the river, 
sea, and road. Here we lay all day, saw several 
vessels pass in and out from Vera Cruz, one of 
which, we afterward found, contained our friend 
Toowig, who had reached that place just as she 


was in the act of sailing. Many persons passed the 
road at a short distance from us, but the moveable 
sands had obliterated our tracks, and we felt secure. 

About noon our junior robber brought us some- 
thing to eat, and a gourd of water. In the evening 
a sand storm came over us, which wellnigh buried 
all hands. 

Our anxiety for the return of our guide now grew 
intense, as it was near night, and no news of him. 
About one hour before sunset we discovered two 
men riding at full gallop down the road from Vera 
Cruz. Watching them closely, we recognised both 
the horse and clothes of our guide. Not knowing 
our exact locality, as we had changed it after he 
had started for the city, he and his new companion 
rode upon a bald sandhill, and made a sign with a 
handkerchief. We answered it by tying one upon 
a stick, and running it up above the cluster of bush- 
es where we lay, upon seeing which they came to 
us. A few words of explanation told them where 
the old man and his partner kept the horses. They 
soon brought them up, and we started for the city. 

This new friend of ours, whom justice to himself 
forbids me to introduce to the reader in his proper 
person, had been for weeks looking for us to make 
our appearance about Vera Cruz. It must suffice 
when I say that this friend, Don E., was a warm- 
hearted, whole-souled man, and I regret to say that 
there are few such Mexicans in that whole nation. 
He had provided us safe quarters, and from him our 



robber guides were to receive a certificate of our 
safe delivery before they would be paid the balance 
due their contract upon their return. 

Upon leaving our hiding-place at the mouth of 
the Rio Antigua, in company with our three robber 
guides and Don E., we rode at a rapid gait, as it 
was important to reach the city before nine o'clock, 
at which hour the city gates would be closed. 
When within three or four miles of the city, a vio- 
lent blow coming on, Don E. and the gray-headed 
old man being a short distance ahead, got separated 
from us, and search after them was wholly vain. 

The other two robbers kept on with us till within 
a mile of the city walls ; here our dark-complexioned 
head man stopped and said that "he would go no 
farther ; that there was some rascality afloat with 
our Vera Cruz friend ; that he did not like his coun- 
tenance ; that he would doubtless, if he could, betray 
all hands ; and," says he, " where would my neck be 
if he did I" We remonstrated with him to no pur- 
pose ; we begged him to take us to the city gates, 
where our friend would certainly come, as the force 
of the storm had separated him from us without his 
desire. But no ; he said we must dismount here, 
and creep into some bushes near by, and next morn- 
ing he would make his way into the city and find 
out all about it. We had no alternative but. to com- 
ply, and a more disagreeable night we have rarely 
spent. A cold rain fell in torrents upon us the whole 


True to his promise, our head man went into the 
city next morning in disguise, and after ascertaining 
through some friends that Don E.'s intentions were 
honourable, and that he was greatly distressed at 
being separated from us, he sought and informed 
Don E. where we had been left. 

Don E. and the old man having kept up the whole 
night watching, and next morning having procured 
a fresh horse, they rode around the town in every 
direction, in hopes of finding us, when they met the 
robber, and learned where he had left us over night. 

Our Mexican friend, Don E., cauie to the spot 
where we had dismounted the night before. We 
had moved our lodgings some two hundred yards, 
though we recognised him, and hoisted a flag from 
the bushes where we lay concealed. He knew it, 
and came to us. This was about noon. He told 
us to leave our blankets, and follow him at about two 
hundred yards distant, and let that distance inter- 
vene between each of us, and to look as if we be- 
longed to the city. This we did : he went ahead ; 
Reese, Dan, and myself followed through the crowd, 
each whistling, with as " don't care a look" as can 
be well imagined. We passed through the city this 
way, making it convenient to stop into a French- 
man's drinking-house to warm the " inward man:' 

We regretted to hear that no vessel would sail for 
the United States, and our friend Don E. conducted 
us to a small private room upon the second floor, 
where we were fed from a restaurante. 


After we had been safely ensconced in our hiding- 
place, our three faithful guides came to take leave 
of us. They did so in the most feeling manner. 
The gray-bearded old man made the valedictory. 
He congratulated us upon our extreme good luck 
in falling into the hands of " honourable men," for, 
says he, " as humble as your apparel appears to be, 
you must know that there are thousands in this 
country who would murder you for that dirty jack- 
et," pointing to the one I had on. "I thank God," 
said he, "that as long as I have worn this gray 
beard I have never forfeited my w 7 ord of honour." 

During this speech he strutted across the room 
with the utmost self-satisfaction, slapping his hands 
upon his bosom whenever he spoke of a man of hon- 
our. When he had finished his speech, we drew 
from the waistband of our pantaloons several ounces 
of gold, which we had been careful to keep dark 
until now, and distributed among them as a gratuity 
over and above their contract. We thought this 
precaution would seal their allegiance, as we had 
been often told that the most honest collectors of 
customs in Mexico will say to the importer, " That, as 
thin as is a doubloon, no man can see through it." 

We had taken particular pains upon the road to 
exhibit our small store of silver, which they suppo- 
sed was all we had. When they saw the gold 
come forth from its hiding-place, a look of surprise 
w 7 as exchanged ; and when they fingered the yellow 
stuff, their countenances beamed with renewed de- 
votion to our interest. 


We certified in writing that they had been true 
and faithful to us, and the tall, dark-skinned robber, 
after first kissing the paper, carefully stored it in a 
secret place under his shirt. Upon taking leave, the 
old man, after several facetious jokes " how we 
would surprise our sweethearts when we reached 
home," embraced us with a Mexican hug both long 
and strong. In Mexico, one's regard for another is 
graduated in proportion to the length and strength 
of the embrace. Thus each of these robbers em- 
braced us, and thus we returned it ; for if we found 
in all Mexico the most fearless devotion to our in- 
terest while in misfortune, it was in our three rob- 
ber guides. 

Cooped up in this situation we remained thirteen 
days, and it was anything else than pleasant. Our 
lodging was in the midst of the infected district, 
where scores died daily of the vomito, the worst 
kind of yellow fever, and where we we were con- 
stantly under apprehension of discovery. A small 
window opening from our hiding-place into the 
street gave us a full view of every passer-by, among 
whom were several officers of the Mexican army 
that we well knew, and among them Captain Santa 
Anna, son of the President, whom we had seen pass- 
ing Perote. Here in this death's hole we had to 
lay and sweat out the last days of hot July. We 
would long for the approach of night, that we might 
walk forth, as recreation both of mind and body ; 
for during the eternal tolling of the church bells over 


the dead and dying, we could fancy the dreadful 
malaria coursing through our veins. 

After night it was my habit to go to a hot bath a 
few squares distant, where an hour's bathing was 
succeeded by a profuse perspiration, which was of 
great relief to me. On one occasion, after coming 
out of the bath, I stepped into a drinking establish- 
ment for the purpose of keeping up the perspiration, 
and while taking a drink at the counter, two Mexi- 
can officers came in and drank by my side. One 
of these officers I knew; and as my disguise prevent- 
ed his recognition of me, I concluded compliments 
were unnecessary. I am sure the free use of the 
bath kept me from taking the disease ; for my com- 
panions, contrary to my advice, not making such 
constant use of it, were both taken down, upon 
reaching home, with the severest cases of fever. 

During our seclusion here, several seafaring men 
from the United States, then in port, found out 
where we were hid, and came to see us and offer 
their services. Among them was my old friend Cap- 
tain F -, and Captain H , and Captain . 

These gentlemen were of the most essential service 
to us, and I regret that it might be doing them a 
disservice by returning thanks to them by name. 

The good Donna E., to while away our time, fre- 
quently sang for us, and her charming voice, like 
balm upon a wound, soothed our spirits, and made 
our confinement more tolerable. This good lady 
never seemed tired of serving us, and long shall we 


cherish the kindest remembrance both of her and 
the Don's goodness. 

In her absence we had two room-mates in two 
loquacious parrots. The younger of the two had 
much to say. He rolled the drum and blew the bu- 
gle after the manner of the guards. He imitated the 
bray of the burros, sang the chorus to several of the 
Donna's songs, and at times was exceedingly wick- 
ed, and would swear outrageously. 

The other was an old housekeeper, and entirely 
blind. She would sit upon the door for hours to- 
gether, occasionally muttering to herself like some 
superannuated grandmother, who fancied that she 
was neglected by the rising generation. No sooner, 
however, were our meals brought in, than her worn- 
out nature seemed to reanimate; and, unless she was 
quickly served, would bawl out in the most emphat- 
ic and indignant tone, " Here am I, old and cross- 
eyed, and you don't care a for me." This re- 
buke never failed to procure her a breakfast. In- 
deed, in the absence of more dishonest bipeds, we 
found much company in these birds. 

After we had been several days in our dark room, 
looking into the street one day, who should pass but 
Dick Barclay. Dick was the first of our escaped 
companions we had seen : we called him in, and 
learned the following account of the balance : 

It was now one month since we left the prison 
walls of Perote. During this time, Dick, with his 
chum Cornegay, had kept in the mountains, occa- 


sionally venturing into the huts of poor people to 
purchase supplies, and had most ingeniously worked 
his way into this place under assumed characters : 
that the night after our separation at the castle, the 
Herculean John Young had fallen over a preci- 
pice in the mountains, and badly crippled himself — 
so much so that he was taken back to prison in a 
most helpless condition : that Beck and Davis, his 
comrades, were also retaken by the pursuing caval- 
ry : that Tom Hancock had also been retaken in 
venturing into a rancho to buy supplies : that Cap- 
tain Ogden was retaken entering into Jalapa the 
night we left it: that Ike Allen, Stone, and Elley 
were still afloat, and he expected, by this time, "herd- 
ing their cattle upon the Rio Bravo ;" and that Dal- 
rymple was flourishing in the city of the Montezu- 
mas. Toowig had already sailed, and here we six 
were in anxious expectation of so doing. 

Let us for a moment look into our late prison 
abode at the castle. 

The night of our escape, and the next morning 
up to the counting time, as might be expected, our 
late companions were under the most excited ap- 
prehension, not only on our account, but also what 
the discovery might cost them. Under this excite- 
ment, things remained quiet as usual, for no one in 
the castle except themselves knew a breath of it. 
At ^nine o'clock next morning, Guts and the new 
guard came around to the prison rooms with the 
sharp and often-repeated order " a fomien, afonnen" 


This order was well understood by our countrymen ; 
it meant " to form," and that in front of the prison 
doors, as usual, in the morning ; but still they held 
back, and were slow to come out of the cells. 
Some made one excuse, some another ; Guts storm- 
ed at their tardiness ; he went into the cells in 
person to look where the absent were, and found 
them not ; he inquired of the balance ; one says, 
" Perhaps they are at the comun ;" another says, 
" They are at the tienda :" these places w 7 ere sent to, 
but they were not to be found. Our boys said 
among themselves, " We will put them off to the 
last minute, for every minute is important to them, 
as they can get the deeper into the mountains." 
During this time Guts swelled and raved : " Where 
are they 1" he thundered out to the interpreter ; when 
some of them said, " Well, Van," to Van Ness, " it 
is no use to put it off any longer ; let him have it." 
Van replied, "Deiz y sets faltan' — sixteen deficient. 
" Where are they gone to, and how did they get out !" 
bawled Guts, in a still louder tone. " Quien sabe V — 
who knows ? was the reply. Then commenced the 
greatest possible row : the whole castle was alarm- 
ed — officers and soldiers turned out — the governor 
came forth with death-like horror upon his counte- 
nance — officers and guards flew all over the castle ; 
examined every nook and corner — the top walls — 
went round the great moat, but still did not discov- 
er the breach, the hole having been so carefully stop- 
ped with the blanket. The last place where they 



thought of looking was in the prison cells, and after 
much useless search, one of the officers pulled back 
the small shutter in the centre room which covered 
the loophole, and found, to his inexpressible horror, 
our breach obliquing to the left. "Who could have 
thought these daring Texians would have un- 
dertaken such a task ? they surely are kin to the 
devil : this castle has stood these hundred years, and 
no one ever dared such a thing before ;" these, and 
many such exclamations of wonder and astonish- 
ment, burst forth from men, women, and children, 
officers, soldiers, and culprits ; for they all, from 
the governor to the smallest child, came to satisfy 
themselves of what their astonishment mixed up 
with miracle. 

While the best-informed Mexicans will admit our 
superiority in war, both in daring and the use of 
arms, the more uninformed entertain the strangest 
notions of us. Many believe that we have magic 
power, and have near kinship with the devil. Oth- 
ers believe us to be northern barbarians, of one of 
two tribes of white Indians, who form the connect- 
ing link between mankind and the other world. 

The northern Mexicans have frequently thus in- 
quired of different Texians, " Do you belong to the 
tribe of How-do-do's, or the God-damn-me's V this 
being the first English which they are apt to learn 
of our people. They are generally answered that 
" my mamma was a How-do-do, and my daddy was 
a God-damn-me." Thus pedigreed, the Texian is 


looked upon by them with far more astonishment 
than the Kentuckian who was sired by a steamboat 
and come out of a penitentiary. 

My letter to Santa Anna was handed to the gov- 
ernor, with a request from me that it should be for- 
warded immediately to his excellency ; and as it 
exonerated the governor and officers from any neg- 
lect of duty, he was not slow to comply in send- 
ing it by an extraordinary courier. 

The surprise which our escape had created caus- 
ed another hour to pass before the cavalry were 
mounted and sent in pursuit. They traced us to 
where we had the night before separated, but could 
follow no farther. Then they separated in different 
commands, and took different roads and mountain- 

We have already given an account of those re- 
captured, and as they were brought back to the cas- 
tle, they were locked in the dark calaboose, except 
poor John Young, who had fallen over a precipice 
and was badly crippled : he was sent to the hospital 
in the village, where, after the most excruciating 
sufferings, his iron constitution survived his injuries. 

The balance of our countrymen were reironed, 
and all huddled together in one room under double 
guard and increased vigilance. The officers now 
thought that nothing was impossible with Texians ; 
and one of my friends, writing from the castle, said 
that " they even believe that we will escape in a let- 


After our escape, some of our friends circulated 
the report that we had gone, under the conduct of 
five Mexican robbers, to join Commodore Moore, 
in Yucatan. The consequence of this report was 
highly beneficial, as the greatest search was made 
after us in that direction. 

Santa Anna, as I learned, pretended not to be- 
lieve my statement, and very unjustly arrested all 
the officers of the castle, the governor, Limpy, and 
Guts inclusive. 



Preparation for Embarcation. — Captain Loyd and Steamer Petrita. — Pass 
Officers on the Mole. — Sup on board a U. S. Vessel. — Hailed by War 
Steamers. — Board the Petrita. — Meet my Companions and Dr. Sinnick- 
son. — Mexican Officers come on board. — My Berth under the Boilers : 
its Temperature. — Dialogue with Steward. — Passage and Arrival in 
New-Orleans. — Once more in the Land of Liberty. — " Tom and Jer- 
ry," " Hail Storm," and " Sherry Cobbler." — St. Charles Hotel and a 
Soft Bed. — Sail for the " Lone Star." — Land at Velasco. — Reese and 
Dan. — Our Remaining Countrymen in Mexico. — Their Destitution, 
Sufferings, and Deaths. — The Cause, and Treasonable Armistice with 

Upon inquiry, our seafaring friends ascertained 
that the steamer "Petrita," formerly the "Champion" 
of Mobile, would be the first vessel sailing for the 
United States; that her captain had recently died, 
and she was now in charge of the mate Loyd. Loyd 


was an old acquaintance of mine, and a true-hearted 
American ; and it is easy to imagine that, both from 
personal feeling to me and duty to his nativity, he 
readily came into the plan of assisting myself and 
companions home. So, on the night previous to the 
morning upon which he sailed, my friend Captain 
H , of New- York, called for me at my hiding- 
place. Between sundown and dark we started for 
the mole, where the captain's boat lay. I saunter- 
ed along in his rear a few paces without baggage, 
and while the officer of the customs was examining 
a portly Englishman, upon whom they found a 
wallet of silver more than he had given in, and 
which seemed to create a dispute between them, 
we walked past with as much apparent indifference 
as though the Mole and all the tax-gatherers belong- 
ed to us. Upon reaching the place where the cap- 
tain's boat lay, we kimboed our arms and talked 
loud, pretending to be in no great hurry. In a few 
minutes it grew more dark, and we got into the 
boat and pulled to his vessel in the offing, lying near 
the Mexican steamers Montezuma, Gauddlowpe, and 
Dublin City, which had that day arrived from 
Yucatan with General Ampudia's retreating army. 
Here we partook of a warm supper, a good glass of 
wine, and discussed our " father-land." 

Just before nine o'clock the captain and myself 
slipped down the side of his vessel into the boat 
waiting to receive us. He steered past the war 
steamers, and was hailed by the sentinel, to which 


he made no reply, and coming alongside of the Pe- 
trita, about one hundred yards still farther on, my 
good old friend Loyd was ready to receive us with 
open heart. 

On board I found Forester and Cornegay, who 
had shipped as firemen, and who were standing be- 
low, with smutty faces and red flannel shirts, as 
though they had been brought up to that business. 
Also Captain Reese, Dan, and Dick Barclay, with 
English names and English protections in their 
pockets, and who looked as independent as wood- 
sawyers. Also Dr. Sinnickson, who had been re- 
leased by President Santa Anna at the instance of 
General Thompson. Captain Loyd told me that 
there would be no danger that night, and in the 
morning he would stow me safely below when the 
boarding-officer came alongside. 

We had a good sleep this night, and early next 
morning the captain told me that he would go ashore 
with his boat, and when the officer started to come 
on board he would make a signal, and then I was 
to go below and crawl under the boilers. The 
boat's hour for sailing was 8 o'clock A.M., and her 
steam had been up half an hour when Loyd made 
the concerted signal from the Mole. I went below, 
and crawled into the darkest and hottest place this 
side of the infernal regions. Every five seconds I 
had to turn over to keep from burning to death 
I was willing to take a good scorching, as I had set- 
tled it in my mind never to be taken back to prison 


alive. The hour which the officer occupied in ex- 
amining the passports and vessel appeared to me to 
be a year, and being nearly exhausted, I determined 
to come out and meet the consequences. As I 
reached the front of the fireman's hole, the officers 
were getting into their boats, and Loyd called to me. 

Being helped out of the hole by the firemen, with 
much difficulty I reached the cabin, and called to the 
negro steward, " For God's sake, to give me a bowl 
of water." 

My inferior wardrobe and dirty appearance, cov- 
ered with sweat and coal-dust, speaking thus to the 
head steward, stirred up his aristocracy. He slowly 
turned his head over his shoulder, and eyeing me 
with the most significant contempt, said, "Look here, 
stranger, you cabin passenger 1" " Yes," was the 
reply ; when, giving another look at me, he said, " I 
doubt it d — nably." 

I replied, "My good fellow, you have a perfect 
right to doubt it ; but ask that man," pointing to the 
captain. He went to the captain, and pointing to 
me with increased contempt, said, " Captain, is that 
fellow a cabin passenger 1" The captain chucked 
him in the side, and whispered, " Yes ; that is Gen- 
eral Green, of Texas ; and get him what he wants." 

The poor steward came to me with the most con- 
trite physiognomy imaginable, and after poking his 
face close to mine, and peeping through sweat, dust, 
and beard, he discovered behind these uncomforta- 
ble companions an old friend and acquaintance. 


" Good God !" says he, " master, I know you now ;" 
and from that time this deeply-mortified black man 
smothered me with kindness. He had been stew- 
ard of steamboats in the United States, and I had 
travelled often with him before. 

We were now at sea, with a clear sky and fair 
prospects, and having fair weather during the pas- 
sage, we landed at New-Orleans on the eighth day, 
at 11 P.M. With feelings which do not often occur 
in one's life, we once more leaped upon freedom's 
soil ; and as we required neither clearance or por- 
ters, we wended our way up town, and called into 
the first open " drinkery." 

Here the scene changed. These very men, I 
among the rest, who, a few short weeks before, 
would have given a pint of their blood for a gill of 
the most miserable brandy ever distilled, now want, 
one a " sherry cobbler" one a " Tom and Jerry" and 
another a " hail storm ;" and all concluded that a 
little rose water round the edge of the cut glass 
would make it go the better. How comparative is 
human happiness ! 

Having taken our drink, we passed on to the St. 
Charles Hotel, and called for a bed each with the 
most Republican independence. The barkeeper, on 
ringing for the servant to show us rooms, seemed to 
be impressed with some of the steward's misgivings, 
and as we started ofT, said, " Gentlemen, it is a rule 
of the house to pay in advance for tumbling the 
beds." We replied, "All right, landlord: we are a 


suspicious-looking set," and threw him a dollar each. 
The next day Colonels Win. M. Beal and Durochea 
generously gave me money to ration my comrades, 
and in two days after we were again upon the " deep 
blue sea" with Captain Furgarson, sailing for the 
" Lone Star." 

The sixth day we landed off the Brazos, where, 
soon after, Captain Reese and Dan were taken 
down with the severest kind of fever, which they 
had contracted at Vera Cruz, and with great difficulty 
recovered from, while my fellow-citizens elected me 
to the more pleasant excitement of the Congress Hall. 
Reese has since married a charming lady, and is 
making cotton-bales upon the banks of Cedar Lake ; 
while Dan, true to his first promise, is again upon 
the Mexican frontier with Captain Hays, ready to 
take his change out of the " blanketed nation." 

Let us now turn to inquire after the main body 
of our countrymen-prisoners; and we do so with 
feelings of mournful sorrow, with a heart overwhelm- 
ed with sadness. We go back to the prisons of 
San Luis Potosi, and find them covered with rags 
and filth, loaded with vermin, and worn down with 
hunger and all the multiplied cruelties of their cap- 
tors. We trace their bloody path south three hun- 
dred miles, through the scorching plains of Mexico, 
by the unburied bones of many noble souls who 
sunk under a task more than human. We see the 
brave and dauntless Cameron taken out upon this 
path and murdered for no other cause than his bra- 

3 A 


very. We see the remainder herded together like 
beasts of burden, and driven forth into the streets 
with sticks and bayonets by brutal overseers, as 
scavengers of filth too horrible to contemplate. We 
see their manly frames worn down by an insufficient 
allowance of the offal of a rotten population. As 
the opposite plate will show, which was drawn from 
life by our indefatigable fellow -prisoner, Charles 
M'Laughlin, we see them heavily ironed, working 
upon a pavement in front of the archbishop's palace 
at Tacubaya ; and what was still more grating to 
their feelings was to be gazed upon from their 
coaches by the yellow, pepper-eating, demi-savages, 
as if they had been so many hyenas. We trace 
most of the survivors, naked and emaciated, two 
hundred miles east, to the dark, cold dungeons of 
Perote ; the balance to San Juan de Ulloa, to be 
offered up as a certain sacrifice to the vomito, that 
universal malaria of death. We follow around the 
massive castle walls of Perote upon the north, and 
in the bottom of the great ditch find newly-stirred 
earth. Here, underneath the loose sand, without a 
plank to cover their bones or a stone to mark the 
place — without the last sad rites of burial, in a spot 
not only unconsecrated, but cursed by a fanatical 
priesthood, lie the remains of the best spirits of our 
country. Here, in a foreign land, in a priest-ridden 
nation, and in full view of the eternal snows of Ora- 
zaba, repose the bones of fathers, brothers, husbands, 
and sons of Texians — here we helped to deposite 

£- ; (il; ;'■■■■/', 






Booker and Jackson, Trapnal and Crews, Saunders, 
Gray, Trimble, and a long list of others. Peace to 
their ashes, and a nation's gratitude to their memo- 
Ties ! But oh ! how the heart sickens at perfidy the 
most unparalleled, when we trace these bloody mur- 
ders, starvation, and deaths to the President of our 
own country ! I would to God that a due regard to 
truth, as well as justice to the memories of these 
brave men, would allow me to throw the mantle of 
eternal darkness over the sequel ; if so, I would bury 
this most horrible conclusion in lasting oblivion, for 
my country's credit. It is, however, my task to 
register this bloody tale, and I have no option but 
in truth; and when President Houston has been 
charged as the cause of the sufife rings and murder 
of our countrymen, for our country's honour it has 
been too clearly proven. (See Appendix Nos. II. 
and VI.) 

We still look after the surviving half of the brave 
band of Mier, and find them in the cheerless cells 
of Perote, living skeletons, without clothing enough 
to hide their nakedness; and what language do we 
hear from them 1 Though they feel mortified and 
indignant at their president's denunciation of them, 
and his heartless usurpation of the laws of their 
Congress in withholding their supplies, yet there is 
but one sentiment, one language among them, and 
that is, " The honour and liberty of their country!* 
At all times, all occasions, and under all circum- 
stances, when hunger has pressed them most, when 


Death made no sham visits to their gloomy abodes, 
boldly did they publish this sentiment. Time after 
time did they write home to their countrymen, "Let 
no consideration of us forfeit your country's honour. 
Let us rot in these dungeons ere you concede one 
inch to these coloured barbarians." And when 
there was one recreant slave among them, who fos- 
tered a coward and a traitor's heart so servile as to 
beg his liberty at his country's dishonour, he was 
denounced by the others with universal execration.* 

I believe that I may safely assert, from my inti- 
mate knowledge of the Mier men, that two among 
them could not have been found who would not 
have preferred the most cruel death to signing, 
as the representatives of their government, the late 
infamous armistice acknowledging Texas a " De- 
partment of Mexico." And though owerwhelm- 
ing public opinion in Texas has driven President 
Houston to disavow any such authority on the part 
of his commissioners, yet it is perfectly clear that 
this commission ivas created by him and sent into 
Mexico, based upon the propositions which " the 
lawyer Robinson" bore from Santa Anna, and no 

Yet these are the men of whom President Hous- 

* This was " the lawyer Robinson," one of the Bexar prisoners, 
whom Santa Anna despatched to Texas to bring her back to acknowl- 
edge the "supremacy of Mexico." 

t Vide Correspondence upon this subject between Santa" Anna, his 
minister of War and Marine, Tornel, and the Honourable Mr. Doyle, the 
British minister in Mexico. Appendix No. III. 


ton caused a part to be murdered, and others to 
starve, by violently withholding from them the bread 
which the representatives of their countrymen liber- 
ally voted them, while he, in open violation of the 
Constitution, dipped his hand into the public chest, 
and furnished his commissioners means to go to 
Mexico to acknowledge that we were no longer a 
sovereign nation, but "the Department of Texas." 
(See Appendix No. VI.) 

* * ***** 

On the 25th of March, 1844, precisely one year 
from the date of the bloody black-bean lottery, the 
following sixteen of our Mier prisoners made their 
escape from Perote, out of the same cell from which 
we escaped on the 2d of July previously: A. B. 
Laforge, Cyrus K. Gleason, John Johnson, Edward 
Kean, Richard Kean, Wiley Jones, William Moore, 
T. Smith, E. D. Wright, Francis Arthur, John 
Toops, William T. Runyan, John Tanney, Wil- 
liam H. Frensley, Stephen Goodman, and William 
Wynn. The first-named nine succeeded in reach- 
ing Texas, and the remaining seven were recaptu- 
red and carried back to prison. 

An account of this escape is the best commenta- 
ry upon the character of our people. Their daring 
is only equalled by their never-tiring perseverance, 
and their capability to overcome the most appalling 

From the time of our escape in July, the officers 
were constantly upon the qui mm. They would a 


dozen times per day enter the cells of our men, and 
examine the walls with the most minute care, not 
thinking it possible that there could be any other 
mode of escape. In this they were much mistaken. 
During that terrible malady of hard ivork and starva- 
tion which swept off so many of our men, the gov- 
ernor granted the survivors permission to cover their 
pavement, floor with heavy boards, being softer to 
sleep upon than stones. They then conceived the 
plan of sinking a perpendicular shaft through the 
pavement of their floor some forty feet deep, and 
tunnelling underneath the main wall so as to reach 
the bottom of the great moat upon the outside. 
Tremendous an undertaking as this was, these 
bold men completed it in forty nights, for they 
could not work upon it in the daytime. 

This work, which was worthy of an experienced 
engineer, with all the implements for sapping, they 
commenced by sawing a trapdoor out of one of the 
boards upon the floor with a piece of tin, which 
fitted so exactly that the officers never discovered 
it, though they often stood directly upon the place. 
From this trapdoor they commenced digging the 
perpendicular shaft with sharp sticks and small 
knives, and as they proceeded downward, the dis- 
engaged earth was elevated by a hair rope being 
tied to one of their small provision baskets. This 
earth, when drawn up, was so nicely distributed un- 
der the board floor as to raise them all equally, and 
thereby not attract the notice of the guards. 


One great difficulty they had to encounter well- 
nigh defeated their enterprise. This was, that after 
they had descended to a considerable depth, the car- 
bonic acid gas, which was generated from the coal 
fires used in the castle, being heavier than the at- 
mosphere, descended into their pit, in which no one 
could labour but a very few minutes before he had 
to ascend to prevent suffocation. Notwithstanding 
this serious impediment, there was always a fresh 
hand to supply the place of the last labourer. Thus 
the work progressed for many nights, when the vol- 
ume of this destructive gas became so deep that it 
would nearly exhaust one before he could reach the 
bottom of the shaft. In this situation, when the 
work progressed by fractional parts of inches, it 
would seem that a kind Providence directed the 
course of the tunnel so as to intersect with a gopher 
hole, which communicated with the bottom of the 
great moat upon the outside, and through which 
this deadly gas escaped, thus affording the sappers 
power to push the work with greater energy. 

On the night of the 24th they were nearly through, 
and all their preparations being made, the following 
night they passed out and ascended the outer wall 
of the moat, and crossed over the chevaux de frize 
as we had previously done. Thus did these heroes 
celebrate the first anniversary of the " decimation," 
and make the 25th another memorable day of their 
captivity. On the 25th we had crossed the Rio 
Grande, and drove Ampudia's legions behind the 

376 " guts" in trouble. 

walls of Mien on the 25th, the most cold-blooded 
murder of the nineteenth century was perpetrated 
upon our seventeen decimated countrymen : on the 
25th we entered the gloomy cells of Perote; and on 
the 25th the noble Cameron was murdered. 

The morning after the escape, the remainder of 
our prisoners, who looked upon it as another triumph 
of Texian prowess, did not wait for the guards to 
find it out, but ran to Guts, and said that " another 
sixteen of the Texians have gone, seiior." 

" Hai Dios ! Diez y seis fatten ? Carajo !" — 
My God ! Sixteen missing 1 O villains ! was his 
first exclamation ; but at the thought of the gloomy 
dungeons of San Juan de Ulloa which stared him in 
the face, he burst forth into a roaring cry. The 
tears rolled swiftly down his fat face and fell upon 
his still fatter belly, which laboured like a bellows, 
to the no small amusement of the Republicans, who 
wellnigh split theirs with laughter. Had Heraclitus 
been a prisoner, one peep at Guts would have made 
him laugh. 

The whole castle was instantly in an uproar. 
The governor came around to assure himself of 
a work which all said the devil had a hand in. 
When he saw it, he exclaimed, " Mucho Irabajo" — 
much work, and consoled himself by saying that 
" they had a finished engineer to conduct it." 

The remainder of our men were put upon their 
examination as to the time they were at work 
upon it, and testified that they were forty nights in 


completing it. These forty nights were rendered 
to the government as three nights, for the longer 
time would have procured both the governor and all 
the other officers quarters in the dungeons of San 
Juan. As feasibly as this escape was accounted for 
to the President Santa Anna, some one had to atone 
for it ; and Captain Peneder, one of their most hu- 
mane officers, was sent prisoner to San Juan, where 
he soon fell a victim to the vomita. 

It was this escape which Santa Anna, in his let- 
ter to the United States' minister, called " abusing 
the generous confidence of my government." Thus 
casting from their limbs, each, twenty pounds of 
iron, eluding the vigilance of multiplied guards, and 
escaping through the walls of the strongest fortifica- 
tion in his empire, from the menial service of slaves 
and brutes, was abusing the "generous confidence' of 
his government ! Was such a perversion of truth 
ever perpetrated by the head of any other nation 1 

Time rolled heavily on, and our remaining pris- 
oners were treated with increased cruelties, when a 
ray of hope beamed in upon them. This was the 
reported annexation of Texas with their father-land. 
This news caused great joy, and it was manifested 
in more ways than one. Our charcoal sketchers 
drew upon their prison walls the " lone star" of 
Texas surrounded by the constellation of the north- 
ern republics. This put the Mexican officers in the 
greatest rage. With true Quixotic boldness, they 
charged this mighty galaxy sword in hand, and after 



cruelly belabouring the plastering, had it whitewashed 
over. No sooner had these bold caballeros turned 
their backs, than another and another flag sprung 
from the deathblows of the last, until they found it 
worse than useless to war upon this Phoenix-like 

Heavy time brought with it another disappoint- 
ment, but hope revived with the return of Santa 
Anna's birthday, which was succeeded by disap- 
pointment still worse. 

The United States minister, General Thompson, 
was upon his return home, and Santa Anna, in part- 
ing courtesy, placed the Bexar prisoners at his dis- 
position, denouncing the others, at the same time, in 
all the eloquence of his court abuse. This was ad- 
ding insult to misfortune, and they had redress from 
neither but in the bold speech of freemen : they both 
wrote and published, regardless of all the refinements 
of his cruelty. 

The United States legation was left in charge of 
the young, accomplished, and talented Benjamin E. 
Green, who deserves the thanks of all Texians for 
his bold advocacy of their rights, and the many kind 
courtesies extended to their suffering countrymen. 

In the latter part of the summer of 1844, Gov- 
ernor Shannon, the present minister from the United 
States, reached Vera Cruz, and upon his arrival at 
Perote, though in the night, obtained permission 
from the governor of the castle, went into each of 
the cells where our prisoners were confined, and 


made the most critical inquiry into their condition. 
This conduct was highly praiseworthy, and at the 
same time that it manifested the warm feelings of a 
countryman, it showed a boldness worthy of his 
country and his station. He promised our prison- 
ers his devotion to their interest, nor was that prom- 
ise neglected. His first official note was to Presi- 
dent Santa Anna, asking for their liberation : to 
which note the President returned the following an- 
swer, which we here insert, as the most finished 
compendium of hypocrisy, vanity, falsehood, and 
malice to be found in the annals of diplomacy. 

" National Palace, September 5, 1844. 
"Wilson Shannon, Envoy, &c., &c. 

" Much esteemed Sir, — I have received the very 
friendly and attentive letter which you addressed to 
me under the date of the 30th ult, respecting the 
liberty of the Texian prisoners confined in the for- 
tress of Perote. 

" In reply, I have the honour to inform you, that, 
as well for the efforts made on various occasions by 
the members of Congress of the United States, as 
through respect for Messrs. Jackson, Thompson, 
Clay, and others of respectability, I have liberated 
many of the Texian prisoners who were captured 
in various actions and encounters between the Mex- 
ican army and the adventurers, and now only those 
are retained in prison who, abusing the kindness 
extended them, have attempted to escape by assas- 
sinating the Mexican soldiers who guarded them. 

380 " magnanimity" of santa anna. 

These criminals deserved death, and nothing but the 
mildness and magnanimity natural to the Mexican 
character* has prevented its application. Justice, 
however, demands that they should be treated with 

* The following incident, related to the writer by Captain S. C. Lyon 
and Mr. Harvey, gentlemen of unimpeachable veracity, is strikingly il- 
lustrative of Santa Anna's vindictive hatred to the Texians. After their 
liberation on the 16th of September at Perote, they were making their 
way, via Vera Cruz, to take shipping home, and had proceeded twenty 
leagues below Jalapa, when they stopped at a house upon the roadside 
for a drink of water. At this place they saw a coach which had just pre- 
viously stopped to change mules, accompanied by a guard of about 
twenty lancers. In the house was an individual in citizen's dress, with a 
gold band around his cap, who, upon Harvey's entering with his hat off, 
asked if he was a Texian. " Yes, sir," was the reply. Turning quickly 
to Captain Lyon, he said, " Are you likewise ]" " Si, Senor," the cap- 
tain politely replied ; when the great unknown, no less a personage than 
Santa Anna, the President of Mexico, aimed a blow at his head with his 
walking-cane, which was promptly caught upon the arm, the captain at 
the same time stepping out of the reach of a second ; whereupon Santa 
Anna turned against Harvey, who was still uncovered inside of the door, 
and violently assaulted him. The President's vengeance possibly found 
some pretext at Captain Lyon's replacing his hat after the meeting sal- 
utation, but those who are acquainted with the natural urbanity of this 
gentleman can find no excuse for conduct in the Mexican despot which 
would be a disgrace to the veriest tyrant of Arabia. After thus wreaking 
his vengeance upon two unoffending, worn-down prisoners, whom his 


starved two years in dungeons, he drove them off, under the most vulgar 
oaths, without one drop of water. At the same time that the reader's 
indignation cannot fail to be greatly provoked at such a brutal outrage, 
language suitable to it would, perhaps, illy become these pages. 

In the face of these and a thousand other brutal outrages committed 
by the dictator, as well upon English subjects as others, such is poli- 
tics, that the Queen of Great Britain considers him a fit representative 
of St. George's cross. The enlightened throughout the world will con- 
cur in the opinion that this proud and most honourable badge was most 
unfitly bestowed.* 

* See Appendix No. IX. 


greater severity than those who have not aggravated 
their faults by stabbing the innocent soldiers who 
guarded them. This is all that I ought to reply to 
your esteemed communication; and in having the 
honour to do so, I have the satisfaction of subscri- 
bing myself, for the first time, your most affectionate, 
attentive, and constant servant, 

" Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna." 

Governor Shannon did not despair of success 
even at the receipt of this vindictive tirade, but 
wrote to our prisoners to " be patient, and wait 
a while longer," until he made another trial. In a 
few days thereafter they received the joyous news 
of their liberation ; and on the 16th of September, 
the governor of the castle, representing the " mag- 
nanimous nation," and acting under instructions 
" natural to Mexican magnanimity," gave each of the 
Texians one dollar to bear his expenses to Texas, 
being a distance less than two thousand miles, and 
then turned them upon the open common as if they 
had been so many herbivorous animals. One hun- 
dred and twenty was the aggregate number released, 
of whom there were at Perote 105, Vera Cruz 10, 
Mexico 3, and Matamoras 2. (See Appendix No. V.) 

In solemn, melancholy duty, we again turn to in- 
quire where are the balance of that brave band who 
fought at Mier and Salado ? My heart sickens at 
the answer. Their bones are strewed from the banks 
of the Rio Bravo to the bottom of the great sewer of 


Perote — they are washed by the grand river of the 
north, and widely scattered in the mother mount- 
ains — they are bleaching upon the battle-fields of 
Mier and Salado, and whiten the commons of Vica- 
rio, Potosi, St. Miguel a Grande, Dolores, and San 
Juan del Rio. Peace ! peace be with their ashes ! 
Eternal honour and gratitude to their memories ! 


Reflections upon the Present Political and probable Future Relations of 
Texas, Mexico, and the United States. — Annexation. — Abolition. — 
Southern Boundary. 

It is not my purpose to enter into a detail of the 
present condition either of the government or peo- 
ple of Mexico. Prescott, Mayer, Kendall, and other 
late writers, whose opportunities have been far great- 
er than mine, have so recently and so ably occupied 
this whole field, that were I to attempt it would but 
be to weary the public with an oft told, and, maybe, 
a worse told tale. 

The late radical change in the government of 
Mexico from a seeming republicanism to an avow- 
ed military dictatorship ;* her position to Texas, and 
that of Texas both to her and the United States 
of America, as well as to other nations, forces upon 
me some general remarks, which may not be out of 
place at this interesting juncture in the politics of 

* The reader will recollect that this was written (1844) during Santa Anna's 


these several governments. From what I saw in a 
zigzag march of more than fifteen hundred miles 
through many of the Departments of Mexico, these 
reflections were convincing to my mind, and I offer 
them to the public as I received them. 

We entered the northern boundary of Mexico at 
the 28th degree of north latitude, and meandered the 
magnificent Rio Bravo several hundred miles to its 
mouth ; thence through Caidereta, Monterey, and 
Saltillo ; thence across the Sierra Madre, via Mat- 
aguala, to San Luis Potosi ; thence via Dolores, 
San Juan, Miguel a Grande, to the capital ; thence 
via San Martin, La Puebla, and Perote, to Vera 
Cruz ; and what do we behold ? A geographical 
area capable of supporting three hundred and eighty 
millions of souls, with seven thousand five hundred 
miles of seacoast, and every variety of soil and cli- 
mate, from the 15th to the 42d degree of north lati- 
tude, containing a mineral wealth unknown to any 
other portion of the globe, and a capability of agri- 
cultural product which has not yet entered into 
political estimate. 

In this vast circumference of the most choice por- 
tion of God's earth, we find a population of seven 
millions of souls, scattered here and there, without the 
moral ability to appreciate the unequal boon. Of 
this seven millions of people, we find twelve out of 
each thirteen in a state of squalid misery, wretched 
ignorance, and want, rarely known, and never before 
paralleled in the history of the world where the ele- 


merits of competence were so abundant ; we see a 
small fraction of the remaining thirteenth holding, in 
a most unjust and unwise proportion, benefits which 
should be more diffuse as the aggregate happiness 
of the whole is desirable ; we see the bulk of this 
population, sparse and well located as it is, since the 
days of the Conquest uniformly sinking lower and 
lower in the scale of human degradation, without 
one scintillation of energy to foretell a change ; we 
see this population, in the last twenty years — unlike 
its great and prosperous neighbour of the north, doub- 
ling its numbers — absolutely reduced in the aggregate 
twelve per cent. ; we see their boasted eight mill- 
ions at the completion of the Revolution reduced to 
a small fraction over seven, with increased taxes, 
with diminished product of metals, with an agricul- 
ture which has gone back from bad to worse, with 
ninety millions of public debt, the most of which is 
due a foreign creditor with the will and the power 
to force its payment ; we see an unwise accumula- 
tion of wealth in the priesthood, who hoard from a 
fanatical laity with a mania which increases with 
age ; we see a foreign commerce, the profits of 
which is a perpetual drain upon the body politic, 
with a government of bayonets, the support of which 
is death to the citizen : in fine, we see a nation of 
abject ignorance and slavery, without a Constitution, 
and governed with the sword. Thus it is we see 
Mexico, without the hope of advancement, and ev- 
erything receding to a state far worse than aboriginal 


simplicity, because in its backward march, without 
the virtues of the primitive man, it carries with it the 
vices and corruptions of civilized artifice. 

If we are asked to what these things are attribu- 
table, it would be an unsatisfactory answer to say 
that such is the history of the Spanish colonies. 
Let us look beyond. 

Upon the discovery of the new continent, the 
bright metals allured a court, then governed by the 
fanatical dogmas of the Romish Church, to a belief 
of unceasing wealth. That court, in extending its 
colonial government over such untold treasures, as 
well from the religious fanaticism which governed 
the sixteenth century as from an equal desire to 
possess itself permanently thereof, threw its govern- 
ment into the control of a priesthood, whose long- 
settled policy has been to govern by the suppression 
of the Bible, and through the ignorance of the gov- 
erned. This policy, adhered to with such unceasing 
aim for three hundred years, at the same time that 
it made the court and the Church the recipients of 
the wealth, sunk in a reverse ratio the subject both 
in ignorance and want. A system so erroneous in 
its commencement could have no cure short of uni- 
versal dethronement of the power first instituting it ; 
and how was that power to be reached, when it was 
the moral soul of the governed 1 

The Church in Mexico, whose existence depends 
upon its unchanged policy, is the moral soul of the 
people ; and were it to allow learning to the million, 

3 C 


it would permit a transfer of that great moral lever 
by which it governs. Thus, while its fanaticism 
debases, its cupidity impoverishes the many. With 
its hundreds of millions of wealth, it teaches the 
strict doctrine that upon your conduct depends your 
redemption from purgatory, and without my will you 
cannot enter heaven. Is it strange, then, that peo- 
ple under such a belief should be patient under 
worldly sufferings 1 The whole history of the 
Mexican Revolution will show, that where the 
priest excited opposition to the mother state, it was 
for the purpose of concentrating more power in 
themselves, to do which they invariably made use 
of their holiness as the surer and more effectual 
means. If the policy of the Church, as it has the 
power to prevent it, is thus opposed to change, where 
is the remedy 1 Certainly not in those whose souls 
have to reach heaven through that channel. The 
history of many nations in time past answers the 
question ; some other people, more skilled in the arts 
of war and the science of government, ambitious of 
the possession of so choice a portion of the earth, 
will extend their arms and government over it ; for 
where there is so much to tempt national cupidity, 
a pretext for war is never wanting. Here this ques- 
tion presents itself. 

Is the present moral and political condition of 
Mexico already so low as to justify such a measure 1 

The present degraded state of Mexico is perhaps 
a sufficient answer to this question ; but in this age, 


when the " moral opinion of the world" is so fre- 
quently talked of, and possibly more respected than 
formerly, it would require a reasonable pretext in a 
foreign nation to assume such a position. 

Great Britain, for instance, would, upon the refu- 
sal of Mexico to pay her sixty millions of debt to 
English subjects, and to extend a full protection to 
the hundred millions of English manufacturing and 
mining capital, have a better pretext to extend her 
laws over Mexico than she had in most of her East 
India conquest, or in forcing opium upon the Chi- 

France, perhaps, would have as good a pretext, if 
the late arbitrary act of the Mexican government 
against the French subject is in contravention of 
existing treaties, as it is grossly violative of that com- 
itas inter gentes which should ever exist. 

The national vicinage between the United States 
and Mexico, that great and leading neighbourhood 
policy which has the right to keep off a stranger 
who possibly might be troublesome, certainly would 
give the former the right, if it did not make it her 
imperative duty, to possess herself of that which a 
stranger might. This policy, called "American" 
belongs as much to the New, as that called the " bal- 
ance ofpoiver" does to the Old World. 

If a decent regard for the " moral opinion of the 
world" be wanting by other nations to make such 
a conquest of Mexico, it is not so wanting on the 
part of Texas ; a nation, though small at present, 


but whose destiny will extend south and west as 
surely as that has been the course of former conquest. 

All history teaches that the general course of con- 
quest has been from north to south. It was so in 
the days of Tamerlane, of the Goths and Vandals, 
and, from the best evidence upon the subject, it has 
been so already with Mexico herself. Physiology 
also instructs us, as a general law, that animals are 
more daring and ferocious in high than in low lati- 
tudes ; that as the cold climate makes it the more 
difficult of subsistence, it nerves the system to an 
energy commensurate to the want ; that while the 
perpetual produce of the warm climate renders such 
energy unnecessary, it enervates the system and de- 
bases the mind. Nothing can be more true, and a 
knowledge of the people of the United States and 
Mexico is strikingly illustrative of the fact. 

Let the present condition of the former nation, 
whose population has increased from a unit to twen- 
ty millions, with her improved state of agriculture, 
with her hundred millions per annum of foreign ex- 
ports, with her commerce upon every sea, with her 
vast strides in literature and science, with improve- 
ments in the art of war, which makes an era as im- 
portant as the invention of gunpowder, compare 
with the latter nation, occupying the most favoured 
location upon the new continent, fronting upon both 
seas, with a climate adapted to vastly more exten- 
sive produce, with her hills and mountains filled to 
overflowing with the useful and precious metals, with 


her population less in numbers and worse in con- 
dition than in the beginning, and we have a strong 
evidence of the truth of this remark. 

When we look more closely into the individual 
habits of the people, the remark is still more convin- 
cing. The people of the first are of stouter frames 
and more enduring constitutions, and, upon an aver- 
age, sleep only one third of their lives, while those 
of the latter, of smaller persons, whose constitutions 
and minds, from generations of slothfulness, have 
been enervated, for want of mental occupation sleep 
two thirds of theirs. 

Let our experience follow them to the camp, 
where we have met, and contrast their habits with 
the people of the northern nation. Here we see 
the Mexican soldier wrapped in his blanket, and 
shivering in the sunshine, while the Texian, in his 
shirt sleeves and open collar, thinks the weather 
pleasant. We see their officers with a cumbrous 
cortege, and all the paraphernalia of the boudoir to 
invite sleep ; while the Texian officer, with his sad- 
dle-blanket as a cover and his saddle for a pillow, 
indulges only when Nature can no longer resist. 
The Mexican officer looks upon his huge load of 
bedding as essential among the munitions of war as 
the Texian does upon his dry powder and well-placed 
double sights. That which is considered so essen- 
tial to the one, is looked upon by the other as a 
womanish effeminacy which would be his disgrace. 
The former rises in the morning, and, with a piece 


of sweet bread as large as one's thumb, drinks his 
half a gill of chocolate, which serves him until din- 
ner, when the enormous quantity of red peppers 
he eats stimulates him into a siesta, which he looks 
upon as necessary to his existence, while the latter 
rises from his solitary blanket ready armed and spur- 
red, stows away his couple of pounds of beef, either 
with or without bread, as the case may be, and is 
ready to meet the consequences of the day, be they 
pleasant or otherwise. 

These are the nations which have been eight 
years warring against each other. Mexico, with her 
seven millions of people, whose course has been un- 
productive of favourable result in this war, and whose 
tendency has been more downward than at any 
former period in her history, is still pertinacious in 
her vain desire of reconquest ; while Texas, with 
her twenty thousand souls, threw off the yoke — has 
increased her population eight or ten fold — multi- 
plied her exports beyond her imports — has a surplus 
of corn and beef vastly more than the wants of her 
people, and cheaper than in any other portion of the 
civilized earth. With this rapidly-growing power, 
already strong, and bidding so soon to wield a giant's 
strength, her course has been temporizing and weak 
beyond measure. When Mexico has vainly threat- 
ened Texas with annihilation — when she has viola- 
ted every principle of civilized warfare by a catalogue 
of cruelties the most unparalleled — when she has, 
time after time, plundered and burned our towns and 


farmhouses — when she has kidnapped our citizens 
and carried them into foreign bondage — when she 
has offered up in cold blood our best citizens to sa- 
tiate the bloody vengeance of a despot, it has been 
the misfortune of Texas, the most of this time, to 
have in her executive chair one who had neither 
the energy nor the will to punish these cruelties. 
When the nation called upon President Houston to 
do so, she was answered in deception, and by him 
the enemy were falsely told that " we have no means 
of prosecuting the war? Then comes his denun- 
ciation of his gallant countrymen of Mier ; then his 
proclamation of piracy against his gallant navy ; and, 
lastly, his thieving copartnership with Colonel Snive- 
ly's expedition. This executive, without either the 
energy or the will to do that which the honour and 
interest of the country required, instead of boldly 
meeting the enemy and punishing " his aggressions," 
commences a compound negotiation of diplomatic 
frauds as disgraceful to the nation as they were stu- 
pid in their author. 

At the same time that the Texas executive was 
begging the mediation of Great Britain, whose price- 
was beyond his gift,* he had commissioners beyond 

* The " abolition of slavery" was, then, the price, and however covertly 
the Texas executive may have connived at the measure, he dare not 
openly advocate it. More recently the British government has varied 
her conditions of mediation, and it is but a variation. She seems just 
now tenacious of the separate nationality of Texas, well knowing that 
her Constitution is a rope of sand ; that in six months, under that Con- 
stitution, a preponderance of European paupers may be introduced, with 
all the rights of citizenship which belong to that few whose patriotism 


the Rio Grande, entering into a disgraceful and trea- 
sonable armistice with Mexico ; and while he would 
promise benefits to other nations, the public will of 
his countrymen, which he could neither control nor 
resist, offered political union to the confederated Re- 
publics of the North.* 

It is not my purpose to argue the good or evil 
which might result from such a union. It is suffi- 
cient that an immense majority of my countrymen 
desired it, and, whatever may be the result of their 
application, duty to Texas requires me to defend her 
against the slander of her executive, and demonstrate 
her entire capability of defending herself successful- 
ly against the united and concentrated power of 
Mexico. What I have already said upon this sub- 
ject might, with good reason, be considered a suffi- 
cient demonstration of this position ; but the history 
of this whole war is a history of proofs of this fact. 

and blood won the country ; and that, when thus introduced, and thus 
equally vested with the rights of suffrage, they can uproot the Constitu- 
tion and abolish slavery with that legal dictum which is not unfrequently 
the despotism of the majority. No sooner did the British government 
fail by a direct attack to carry an institution so closely identified with the 
welfare of our present population, than she commenced another assault 
by a political strategy, which, if the people of Texas are true to them- 
selves, will likewise fail. If they take, as it is their first duty to take, 
early measures to amend their Constitution, and guarantee themselves 
against European mendicancy, then, with or without annexation, Texas 
will be safe against such strategy, and English sappers and miners will 
meet as signal a defeat in their present subterranean movement. The 
people of Texas cannot be blind as to the extent of English friendship, 
when that government proposes, through her mediation, that " Mexico 
shall acknowledge Texas's independence upon condition that the latter re- 
main a separate nation." 
* See Appendix No. VIII. 


In the year 1835, the battles of Conception and 
the "grass-light," where large odds were driven from 
the field by Texians — the same year, when three 
hundred Texians stormed the city of San Antonio, 
and compelled General Coss and eleven hundred 
Mexicans to surrender — in 1836, when one hun- 
dred and eighty Texians in Alamo, under the com- 
mand of Colonel Travis, held out thirteen days 
against Santa Anna at the head of eight thousand 
opposing forces, and every Texian falling after kill- 
ing five times their number — in the same year, when 
Colonel Fannin and four hundred men, at the bat- 
tle of Coletta, in a three hours' engagement, beat off 
thirteen hundred of the enemy under General Urea, 
though the next day he was deceived into a surren- 
der — in the same year, when seven hundred Tex- 
ians, of their own spontaneous will, charged and 
routed fifteen hundred of the enemy, under General 
Santa Anna, at San Jacinto, killing and capturing 
the whole — in the same year, when Deaf Smith, 
with twenty Texians, charged and routed one hun- 
dred and twenty of the enemy — in 1839, when one 
hundred and four Texians, under Colonel Jordan, 
beat one thousand of the Mexicans at Saltillo, and 
made good their retreat into Texas, in the face of 
such odds, with the loss of only four men — in 1842, 
when Colonel Caldwell, with two hundred and ten 
Texians, repulsed General Woll and thirteen hun- 
dred of the enemy at Arroya Salado — in the same 
year, when two hundred and sixty-one Texians 

3 D 


drove ten times their number into Mier, fought 
them for nineteen hours, killing and wounding 
three times their number, though they were deceiv- 
ed into a surrender, and cheated out of their victo- 
ry — in 1843, when two hundred unarmed Texian 
prisoners at Salado charged twice their number of 
armed guards, beat and dispersed them — in the same 
year, when Commodore Moore, off Campeachy, si- 
lenced ten times his naval force, and compelled them 
to seek shelter — in fine, let us go back to Mina's 
expedition in Mexico, and follow him through his 
bloody campaign, and nowhere will we find that 
the Mexicans have stood the charge of the North 
Americans and the descendants of the English, and 
good reasons teach that they must be regenerated 
before they ever will. A small knowledge of the 
Mexican's raising, his habits of life, and his mode of 
enlisting, will prove this assertion. 

The Mexican army is composed of the veriest 
dregs of their population, having been raised in 
the most abject degradation and slavery, without 
ever being permitted the use of fire-arms : they are 
forcibly taken from the criminals prisons, the un- 
protected Peons, and the houseless leper os. These 
wretched creatures are tied together like brutes, 
without their will, and without the power of re- 
monstrance, when they are forced into quartels, 
where for many months they are drilled like ma- 
chines, then placed in uniform, and given a bright 
musket, which his greatest punishment is to be made 


to fire. In the Mexican army we see no target- 
firing, and upon inspection days the inside of the 
gun is not looked to, when it is the especial duty of 
the soldier to keep the outside bright. Their army x 
with a gay, peacock uniform and bright arms, under 
the exciting notes of the bugle, has, to an inexpe 
rienced eye, a formidable appearance. The soldier 
goes through the " manner with a stiff, uniform, ma- 
chine-like motion, while the company and regiment- 
al drill is taught as horses are taught to perform 
tricks which they cannot know the meaning of. 
Such soldiers, thus recruited, are called volunteers, 
and the army the " defenders of liberty /" 

With such mockery of truth, such destitution of 
principle, is it to be expected that such an army can 
cope with freemen, who in the nursery are taught 
that they have no superiors and but few equals — 
who go forth from their mother's watchfulness with 
the rifle in their hands, and by the time they are en- 
titled to breeches, emulate their bold sires both at 
the target and in horsemanship 1 While the chief 
accomplishment of the Mexican is in throwing a 
rope over a pig's head or a mule's foot, the Texian 
fires at the target with the most scientific estimate 
of the strength of his powder, the weight of his shot, 
and the placing of his sights. His first lesson from 
his father is, "Never to touch his double trigger un- 
til his double sights are right;" and from this im- 
portant lesson no circumstance can drive him. He 
holds in contempt the empty show and gewgaw 


pomp of the camp, and looks upon it as the shadow 
rather than the substance of power. It is this feel- 
ing which has been called by foreigners the ultra 
democracy of the nation: it is a conscious superior- 
ity in themselves which gives confidence to the ac- 

If a Mexican commits theft or other crime, he is 
sent to prison therefor, where he takes the highest 
degrees in human vices, which, it would seem, in 
the estimation of that government, perfects him for 
the soldier, and from whence he is turned into the 
army, while one upon the suspicion of theft in our 
army would find his head shaved and himself drum- 
med out of the ranks, to the music of the Rogues 
March. "An honourable discharge" from our army 
is the highest boast of its owner; he prizes it as the 
richest jewel he can leave to his posterity ; and while 
with pride his heart swells over it as a matter of 
patriotism, it is the foundation of his land-title. Not 
so in Mexico ; neither land nor patriotism enters 
into the account ; honourable discharges are not 
known; and while a bad criminal is kept in the 
service as a punishment, a good soldier is too valu- 
able to be spared the service. In their ranks, good 
and bad alike wear out a premature existence upon 
a scanty pittance, which poorly serves him from day 
to day ; and without the expectation of future re- 
ward, he seeks every opportunity of deserting from 
this unthankful service. 

Nowhere, upon my long march through Mexico, 


except in the valley of the Rio Grande, was the 
least sign of improvement, either public or private, 
either in building or agriculture. The withering 
hand of decay appears to be fastened upon the land ; 
everything seems to be in its downward tendency, as 
fast as time and neglect will carry it. The subject, 
so long debased, is sinking lower and faster, if possi- 
ble. Their ages of vice and misery have entailed 
upon them diseases, which follow from generation to 
generation, sickening to contemplate, and disgusting 
to behold. Lunacy, blindness, deformity, and many 
libidinous diseases are the hereditary entailments of 
the multitude, and carry off thousands yearly when 
in the prime age of manhood. 

At San Luis Potosi I was quartered in a hospital, 
and in the room adjoining that in which I was 
confined there were forty out of forty-three of its in- 
mates inflicted with lewd diseases, most of whom 
were considered to be incurable. During my short 
stay at this place, several died the most horrible 
deaths. This, I was informed by an intelligent Mex- 
ican officer, was a fair proportion of the diseases of 
the country, and that it was hereditary in families. 
When, with astonishment, I asked him if the disease 
extended to the better classes of society, he replied 
in the affirmative, but said " that people, of late, 
were getting more particular, and now its non-ex- 
istence entered into the marriage contract: that it 
was one of the first inquiries of parents before they 
bestowed the hand of a daughter, and vice versa with 


the parents of the son." What a monstrous state of 
society ! and how shocking it must appear to the 
public ear of the United States ! that community 
which looks with such horror at the possible exist- 
ence of it, even in the very small proportion of the 
lowest dregs of a city population. 

I saw families, a large proportion of whom were 
blind, and one, in particular, wretchedly deformed, 
without any other use of their legs than to crawl 
upon their all fours, with a kind of jumping gait, 
much resembling the motion of the mud turtle. 
These miserable creatures, who appeared as desti- 
tute of reason as of physical power, were huddled 
together in the greatest destitution, and seemed to 
move and propagate by instinct. There can be 
nothing more certain than that these diseases and 
infirmities are propagated. One instance came under 
my observation strikingly illustrative of this fact : it 
was in the person of one of the camp followers, a 
most unwise proportion of whom pursue the Mexican 
camp. He was a man apparently of about forty-five 
years of age, with a full-sized, well-proportioned head 
and body, but whose legs, from his hip joints to his 
feet, did not exceed one foot in length, and his arms 
were in proportion to the length of his legs, thus 
giving him the height of a boy of seven years of 
age. This little man was of the most enduring con- 
stitution, and would toddle after our regiment in a 
brisk run thirty miles per day. When the regiment 
would halt for the night, the little fellow would dance 


either for clacos or aguardiente, of both of which he 
was very fond. He told us that he had a very tall 
wife and eight children ; that four of them took after 
their mother and had long legs, and four of them af- 
ter himself and had short ones. Many other instan- 
ces of lusus naturce came under my observation, and 
I was informed that an alarming proportion of the 
population were afflicted with these wretched en- 

Tn the Valley of the Rio Grande only did we see 
anything resembling improvement. Here the people 
are infinitely superior in condition and intelligence 
to those more south: here were new fields being 
opened, and some cotton plantations under way, 
with the border towns from Matamoras up to Lare- 
do, which, during this war, have doubled, and some 
quadrupled their population. What a volume this 
single fact speaks ! that upon the immediate border 
between the two belligerants is the only improve- 
ment in the one claiming to be "mighty and mag- 
nanimous." Can there be a stronger argument of 
the irrevocably lost condition of Mexico, than that 
the only improvement in her mighty empire is in that 
immediate district which has borne the burden of the 
contest 1 And why 1 Because that district is con~ 
tiguous to a race of improvement — that, notwith- 
standing all the burdens and calamities of an eight- 
years' war, their intercourse with Texians, even in 
hostility, has opened their eyes to the improvement 
of their neighbours. If, then, this often ravaged bor- 


der is the only portion of all Mexico in a state of 
improvement, what would be not only its condition, 
but that of the whole country, under the benign in- 
fluence of peace and good government ? 

What we have already said of the recruiting of a 
Mexican army, and the character of that army when 
recruited, is the least difficult part of their war estab- 
lishment. This army, after a long and tedious drill- 
ing, is turned into a flaming automaton, without the 
thought necessary to meet a sudden emergency, and 
hence always subject to surprise and panic ; but, 
machine-like as it is, it requires to be supported, and, 
from its size and duties, a support larger than the 
resources of the government. Even without foreign 
war, the whole immense extent of the Mexican 
territory has to be watched, to do which a large 
army establishment is necessary. The presence of 
bayonets alone can keep down a people goaded to 
desperation with onerous exactions under unwise 
laws. Withdraw this threatening power, and the 
people are at once in arms : the presence of the bay- 
onet is essential to the existence of the despotism, 
and their support is the consumption of the people's 
substance. If, then, a necessary peace establishment 
at home requires more than the income of the gov- 
ernment, how is it possible to increase it so as to 
wage a successful foreign war? Let her withdraw 
the peace establishment to prosecute a foreign war, 
an enemy at once rises up at home which subverts 
the existing government. Her army has to be fed, 


clothed, and armed alone from the public chest, and 
without such support from day to day, it must cer- 
tainly dissolve. They have no provident commissa- 
riat, which looks ahead to emergencies, and the 
soldier's support is consequently a daily drain upon 
the army chest. The government, without manu- 
factories, has to seek her arms from abroad, and the 
refuse of other nations, both from their cheapness 
and the ignorance of the Mexicans in the daily im- 
provements of the age, are bought up. How is it 
with Texas 1 

Here is a whole nation of soldiers, from the twelve- 
year-old boy to the grayheaded grandfather, not 
shut up in walled quartels, as ready instruments to 
enforce the exactions of tyranny, but each soldier 
occupying his own armed castle with his true and 
faithful rifle ever in readiness, and his water-proof 
shot-pouch always filled ; here, in one hour's no- 
tice, these guardians of liberty can be in their sad- 
dles, in readiness to meet wherever danger threatens, 
and prepared to stay from home according to the 
emergency ; here no man is too poor to buy one 
dollar's worth of powder and lead, which will serve 
his rifle through a bloody campaign; and should 
there be such a one, his more able neighbour cheer- 
fully supplies him ; here is a surplus of corn and 
beef throughout the land always in readiness for 
those in the service of the country ; here is a skill 
in the use of arms unknown in any other portion of 
the world, and an intrepidity of daring which fre- 



quent dangers have made commonplace : in fine, 
here is a moral principle controlling the action 
which no circumstance can subvert. Thus it is that 
we see Texas, with an army of twenty thousand 
citizen soldiers quartered throughout the country, 
always in readiness to meet a foreign foe, and with- 
out the cost of one dollar to the government. 

When the called session of the Texian Congress of 
1842 urged upon the executive to prosecute the war, 
he, in his message to the Congress, makes the fre- 
quent assertion that the nation had no means of do- 
ing so. Not only was that message published to the 
enemy, but the same executive again reiterates the 
assertion, time after time, in the many speeches which 
his extraordinary conduct made it necessary for him 
to make to justify himself, without ever once advert- 
ing to the fact that, of the many thousand volunteers 
who took the field in that year, not one required ei- 
ther pay or rations of the government. The whole 
campaign of that year has plainly demonstrated the 
fact, that it was unnecessary to furnish either pay or 
rations. The ample pay which the soldier looked 
to was the consummation of that liberty for which 
he at first struck ; nothing more did he desire, no- 
thing less would he have. His sustenance was to be 
found upon every prairie, the free use of which was 
his welcome privilege. Thus we find Texas a na- 
tion of soldiers, brave in war and skilled in arms, 
with all the munitions of a campaign in readiness, 
and with a moral purpose which despotism can nei- 
ther control nor check. 


When the timid and weak-headed of our own, 
and the speculative and uninformed of other coun- 
tries, have expressed doubts as to the ability of Texas 
to maintain herself against Mexico, these doubts were 
the offspring of ignorance and fear. A people like 
the bulk of the Texas population, born in and reared 
under the principles of free representative government, 
will not even entertain a question of change. That 
proposition which purposes to send them back to 
despotism can get no hold upon the popular thought, 
and the occasional recreant who would harbour it in 
his own bosom dare not utter it. Effeminacy, licen- 
tiousness, and corruption, after the slow and gradual 
inroads of ages, may undermine a nation's political 
morals, as will indulgence an individual's. What 
months and years may do to the individual, requires 
ages and centuries to effect with the nation. Thus 
it has been with those representative governments 
which have preceded us : the constituents had first 
to be corrupted one by one, and when all the mem- 
bers were affected, then the body sunk. Such may 
ultimately be the destiny of Texas; but, with the 
lights of the world before her, there can be no just 
fear that her course of freedom will be short of any 
nation which has gone before. 

Can a nation born and raised in such principles 
long practise a neighbourhood comity with one whose 
principles are in such diametrical opposition 1 

History has given a negative answer to this ques- 
tion. It was not so in the days of the Grecian Re- 


publics or the Commonwealth of Rome, and the 
short life of representative government in France 
has fully demonstrated its entire impracticability. 
The lamb might as well be caged with the hungry 
wolf in the hope of living in friendship. Such na- 
tions, to keep in peace, must either be separated by 
long distance or by some difficult natural boundary, 
the surmounting of which will be equivalent there- 
to. They cannot commingle in the same trades, 
and practise rights common to both in quiet. What 
may be the policy of the one may prove the bane 
of the other, and we could with the same hope make 
virtue and vice assimilate : thus, for instance, the 
subjects of the present slavish despotism of Mexico 
holding, in common with the citizens of Texas, the 
free navigation of the Rio Grande, with the high 
tariff contraband laws, and government monopolies 
on the one side, and the low tariff and free trade 
principles on the other. The interference of the 
former with the rights of negro property of the lat- 
ter, and many other opposite interests, would keep 
up between the two perpetual excitement, which 
would result in perpetual war. 

In Mexico, for instance, none but a licensed few, 
who pay high for the privilege, can raise tobacco, 
and that, when raised, is to be sold to the govern- 
ment at a price far below its value. In Mexico, 
none but the government dare make a segar, and no 
man, woman, or child dare smoke one except it 
has the government stamp upon it, while every man, 


woman, and child in the nation smokes. The val- 
ley of the San Antonio River in Texas is capable 
of making more tobacco at a cheap rate than the 
wants of all the northern states of Mexico, and it is 
preposterous to say that this would not be done, and 
carried across the border, in defiance of all the laws 
of Mexico, even had she an army upon that border 
twenty times her ability to maintain. 

So it is with the articles of raw cotton and spun 
yarns. Under the unwise management of Mexico, 
her manufactories are languishing, with the latter at 
sixty-two to seventy-five cents per pound, while the 
cotton can be grown, spun, and transported from 
Texas into Mexico profitably at less than half that 
price. What possible circumstance can prevent 
this from being done, when the soil of Texas pro- 
duces double the quantity of the raw article per 
acre which is reared in the United States — when, 
from the larger size of the Texas cotton-bolls, fifty 
per cent, more can be saved per day — when the 
length of the picking season is longer and better — 
when provisions are cheaper than in any other por- 
tion of the world, and where a superabundant wa- 
ter-power costs nothing ? 

Two nations so contiguous, so opposite in their 
policy, and every way so unlike each other, can 
never live in friendship with a border which invites 
both to its advantages. The Rio Grande, from its 
head to its source, from the forty-second to the 
twenty-fifth degree of north latitude, is capable of 


maintaining many millions of population, with a va- 
riety of product which no river upon the north con- 
tinent can boast. This river, once settled with the 
enterprise and intelligence of the English race, will 
yearly send forth an agricultural export which it 
will require hundreds of steamers to transport to its 
delta, while its hides, wool, and metals may be in- 
creased to an estimate which would now appear 

If annexation of Texas to the United States of 
the North succeeds, this boundary can exist but for 
a short period ; and though there seems to me to be 
a destiny in the womb of time which marks her 
southern boundary at the extremity of the north 
continent, where the two great oceans of the world 
will unite under a genial sun and a smooth naviga- 
tion, yet her more immediate southern boundary 
must extend to the Sierra Madre, that great Chi- 
nese wall which separates the people of the Rio 
Grande from those of the more southern table-lands. 
Can this be considered a greedy desire upon the part 
of the mighty northern nation, when her facilities of 
communication with those people from her capital 
in twelve days are superior to their present means 
of communication with the capital of Mexico in 
thirty ? We say not. This age has merged dis- 
tance in time, and the people of the Rio Grande at 
present are as near neighbours to the capital of the 
United States as Boston was to Philadelphia at the 
promulgation of President Washington's inaugural 
message to the first Congress. 


Should annexation not take place, this will be 
done, and sooner done by Texas. Both the gov- 
ernment of the United States and Texas are found- 
ed upon the same political code. The same politi- 
cal sentiment enters into each. They have the same 
common origin — the same language, laws, and reli- 
gion — the same pursuits and interests ; and though 
they may remain independent of each other as to 
government, they are identified in weal and wo — 
they will flourish side by side pari passu, and the 
blight which affects the one will surely reach the 
other. The unity of the Texian government, her 
immediate contiguity to Mexico, and her multiplied 
causes of quarrel therefrom, will cause her arms to 
extend south and west sooner than would those of 
the United States. In the later government of such 
a confederacy of republics there are many heads 
to consult and many interests to accommodate. 
These numerous sectional interests, whether real or 
fancied, must be accommodated, and by an action 
necessarily slower than that of Texas. 

As I have said before, it was not my purpose to 
discuss, at present, the question of annexation. That 
has been often and ably done, and much has been 
said on both sides ; but as a Texian, feeling a prop- of pride in her nationality, and an absorb- 
ing interest in her welfare, whatever may be her 
destiny, duty requires me to deny a position which 
seems to have grown up with the argument, to wit, 
that most or all the advantages of union would re- 
sult to Texas. 


If Texas has been the applicant for this political 
copartnership, she has not been insensible to the 
fact that she would enter the firm as a junior part- 
ner, bringing with her into the concern more than 
her pro rata of capital; she has not been insensible 
to the fact that she voluntarily abandons her own 
freedom to take a junior position in that mighty na- 
tional confederation which will give her but a feeble 
voice in the general direction of affairs; she has not 
been blind to the fact that, by entering into the 
union, she makes herself a party to the many quar- 
rels of conflicting interest which perpetually excites 
that great national family; that by this step she vol- 
untarily leaps into the questions of bank or no bank; 
of free trade, high tariff, and protection ; of abolition 
and disunion ; she is fully aware that she gives to 
the Northern States all the benefits of her carrying 
trade, to the injury of her own citizens, and taxes 
herself with northern manufactures at least thirty 
per cent, higher than she could procure like articles 
from other nations ; she is not insensible to the fact 
that after this current year a ten per cent, ad valorem 
tariff, without direct taxation, will be ample for the 
support of her government, when, by coming into 
the Union, she voluntarily taxes herself four times 
that amount; she is not insensible to the fact that 
she offers to the confederacy four hundred miles of 
seacoast, with all the advantages of the rich valley 
of the Rio Grande, including sixteen degrees of 
latitude, from its source to its mouth, with more 


than one hundred millions of acres of public do- 
main. And for what are these mighty surrenders 
made? Does Texas receive a quid pro quo in hav- 
ing her coffers filled for the purpose of carrying on 
what ought to be her brilliant destiny even as one 
of the states \ No ! She receives just enough of 
the proceeds of her immense domain to pay a debt, 
not a tithe of its value. And to whom is this debt 
paid but to the citizens of the United States, most 
of whom have bought it upon speculation 1 Texas 
is none the better off for this, save in the protection 
of that national faith, which she prizes as an honest 
nation should. If this debt were paid to her own 
citizens, it would be that much towards her individ- 
ual state wealth, whereas not one dollar in fifty comes 
to those citizens. It goes into the hands of foreign 
money-shavers and broker-gamblers, who care no- 
thing beyond for her prosperity, because such people 
have no feelings except in the usury of coppers. 

Thus it is that Texas would denude herself by 
abolishing her Constitution — by dismissing her for- 
eign ministers — by cutting short her acquaintance 
with an enlightened world — by surrendering her 
separate independence, and committing national 
suicide — to submit to a high protective tariff, and 
resort to the grinding operation of a direct tax for 
the support of her state government, and then sink 
to an obscure corner in the constellation of states for 
that proud feeling which a majority of her citizens 
claim in their nativity. The United States can not, 



must not, therefore, view her as the only beneficiary 
to the contract. 

This feeling of nativity must be strong indeed 
which would voluntarily make these mighty surren- 
ders ; and to him who cannot feel that pride of 
birth which most of the people of Texas feel, these 
surrenders must appear truly astonishing. It is an 
exalted feeling far above all calculations of dollars 
and cents ; and truly may we exclaim, in the lan- 
guage of a distinguished Roman, " Nescio qua natale 
solum dukedine cunctos ducit, et immemores non sinit 
esse sui" If the sordid interests of money were to 
enter into the calculation, it would appear as rea- 
sonable for a son who had received a competent 
outfit from a father, and taken upon him all the du- 
ties and pleasures of a household, to seek to surren- 
der everything back to that father when he had 
subsequently married a termagant stepmother. 

Since the establishment of Texian independence, 
she cannot have viewed, but with regret and morti- 
fication, the rapid growth of principles in her father- 
land, which no circumstances under annexation will 
cause her ever to submit to. At the establishment 
of Texian independence, a fanatical few preached 
the doctrine of universal equality between the white 
and black man, between the master and the slave. 
Then this few received the countenance of but few 
— then the many abhorred them as unprincipled 
disturbers in the large and happy household ; no 
man of character gave countenance to the unnatu- 


ral associations of such disgusting doctrines. How 
altered now the case 1 The contagion of fanati- 
cism, however absurd, is like the contagion of phys- 
ical maladies, which communicate by contiguity. 
It spread first to the ignorant, because they were in 
nearer contact. When it found a lodgment in the 
multitude, it met a response in the demagogue of 
higher standing ; then found apologists in the Sen- 
ate ; next, advocates among the most talented, and 
now the election of President is bending to its in- 
fluence. When the son proposes to give everything 
back to the father, he finds that father wedded to 
this unnatural mother, with whom he never intends 
to live in friendship. Still, the son insists upon 
giving back all his wealth to be divided among the 
offspring of his mother, the young half-bloods, who 
are taught from their cradle to despise him. The 
boast of the son is in his father's name : he feels 
that there should be a common destiny between 
them, and he makes the wonderful sacrifice of in- 
terest a tribute to his pride. He sees his wealth 
divided among the large family, trusting to the pre- 
carious whims of his parent, now under alien influ- 
ence, not only for justice, but for bread. Texas is 
a stronger case : from her father she went forth into 
the world penniless, and now offers her hundred 
millions of acres and her boundless resources, 
which is the fruit of her own industry, sweat, and 

Are these all the advantages which would result 


to the United States by such a union? No, in- 
deed ! Many others might be enumerated ; but, in 
connexion with the question of southern boundary, 
I will only notice two, which seems to have been 
overlooked by most writers upon the subject. 1st. 
The possession of the shortest and most practicable 
route to the settlements and commerce of the Uni- 
ted States on the Pacific ; and, 2dly. A boundary in 
connexion with the question of the amelioration and 
ultimate destiny of slavery in the United States. 
First, The annexation of Texas to the United 
States, with the Rio Grande as the consequent im- 
mediate southwestern boundary, would necessarily, 
by treaty or conquest, extend to the Sierra Ma- 
dre, and, as a protection against the northern tribes 
of Indians, should cross to the Gulf of California 
about the 28th degree of north latitude. This 
would be the shortest and most expeditious route 
from the United States as well to her Oregon set- 
tlements as to her other numerous interests on the 

Taking New-Orleans as the most convenient 
point of embarcation from the United States, we will 
find that sixteen hundred miles of steam navigation 
to the mouth of the Rio Conchoes, upon the Rio 
Grande, can be made in about the same time, and, 
taking the year round, with the same facilities, that 
Cincinnati can upon the Ohio ; and from the head 
of steam navigation upon the Rio Conchoes, across 
the Sierra de Carcay to steam navigation upon the 


Rio Hiagui, a distance of three hundred miles by 
railroad, the port of Guaymas, upon the Gulf of Cal- 
ifornia, could be reached in eight or nine days ; sa- 
ving a distance of four thousand miles, and twenty 
additional days steaming, via the Panama Canal, pro- 
vided that was completed ; and saving a distance of 
twenty-four thousand miles, via Cape Horn, and the 
average economy of one hundred and twenty days 
sail, steaming such a distance being too expensive. 
It would save a four months' travel the present route 
across the country from steam navigation of the Mis- 
souri waters to Oregon. 

This short and expeditious route to the growing, 
and soon to be the important settlement of Oregon, 
and, at present, many other interests in the Pacific 
in the event of the acquisition of this country by the 
United States, would be the smallest reasons for the 
accomplishment of this route. 

The most desirable portion of this continent lies 
between the 28th and 42d degrees of north latitude 
upon the Pacific. It presents more than a thousand 
miles of seacoast, with the important ports of Guay- 
mas, San Diego, San Gabriel, Monterey, San Fran- 
cisco, and many others, with a soil and climate of 
unsurpassed capability for grazing and agriculture, 
and a mineral wealth supposed to be equal, if not su- 
perior, to any in the world. This vast country of 
more than one million of square miles, lying due 
west of the settled portion of the United States, be- 
tween the frozen regions of the north and the verti- 


cal sun of the south, between the gentle influences 
of the Pacific Ocean and the great backbone of the 
continent, capable of giving wealth and happiness to 
a hundred millions of souls, is now in possession of 
roaming tribes of unhoused Indians, and a few set- 
tlements of less than two hundred thousand Mexi- 
can subjects.* 

If Oregon is important to the United States, this 
country is a thousand times more so. The extreme 
northern lines of the states of Pennsylvania, Con- 
necticut, and Rhode Island only reach to the 42 d 
degree of north latitude : that latitude cuts in two 
the states of Massachusetts and New- York, and 
Lake Erie and Michigan, while the 28th degree is 
north of the United States settlements in Florida, 
and nearly three degrees north of Texas, at the 
mouth of the Rio Grande. While it is due to the 
United States that she should not permit this impor- 
tant country to fall into European hands, it is equal- 
ly due to her that she should possess it by any and 
every means necessary thereto. 

Let the United States apply, if necessary, the usu- 
fruct doctrine of her possession of this country, which 
Old England and Old Spain practised towards the 
aborigines upon the discovery of this continent — 
a doctrine of common sense and sound reason — of 

* It will be perceived that I have spoken in round numbers of the pop- 
ulation of this country. Both Forbes and Mayer make the population 
much less, but their remarks are applicable to Upper California, while 
mine extend to the 28th degree of north latitude. 


human necessity and justice. If the Author of 
the universe intended the earth for the support of 
the few, to the exclusion of the greater number, the 
reverse of this doctrine is true, and then it is right 
and proper that a very few should hold this country, 
of which they can make no adequate use, to the ex- 
clusion of many millions in other portions of the 
earth, who may be dying for the want of space to 
live in. When Spain claimed title and possession 
to this vast tract of country under this doctrine, that 
the aborigines had no title in the soil, but only a 
temporary right to the use and occupancy thereof, 
such only as the buffalo enjoys, she was justified in 
such possession only by applying it to a better use. 
Three hundred years have passed, and neither her- 
self nor those claiming under her have applied it to 
that better use, and she holds it without such ability 
so to apply it, to the exclusion of others who have, 
and whose necessities require it. England, France, 
or any other nation, whose population is greater than 
her means of subsistence, has a right, derived direct- 
ly from the Maker of the earth, to occupy it with 
her redundant people ; and it alone is a question of 
policy or power whether its present claimants or near- 
est neighbour will permit it. This era, so marked 
in the improvements of agriculture, machinery, and 
navigation — in the knowledge of geography, and the 
increased necessity of the case, will not allow a per- 
version of the use of this country. For many wise 
reasons, the United States should extend her settle- 


merits over it ; but should she, by a different policy, 
fail to do so, the all-seeing eye of Great Britain will 
not let slip such a golden opportunity in possessing 
herself of this desirable middle ground between home 
and her vast Eastern possessions. Besides, if the 
Oregon settlement is important to the United States, 
without a harbour sufficient for the entrance of her 
smallest vessels of war, the port of San Francisco, or 
some other port in the south, is absolutely necessary 
for her. 

It may, however, well be questioned whether ei- 
ther Spain or the present government of Mexico has 
ever had any other than a nominal possession of 
this vast region ; for only here and there, in a very 
few isolated spots, has she had a few people in real 
possession, and those few shut in by fortifications as 
protection against the aboriginal occupants. If, 
therefore, she has no power of absolutely possessing 
herself of this country, her declaration of ownership 
to it was arbitrary, and the act not justified by her 
means ; and with the same propriety she might have 
claimed, to illimitable extent, that which she neither 
had the use of nor power of using, depriving millions 
of the earth's population of support and the proper 
uses thereof. 

While I hold that it is both just and proper that 
any nation with an overgrown population may set- 
tle these vast wastes with her redundant people, I 
repeat again that it would be short-sighted policy in 
the United States to permit it. That nation, with 


her twenty millions of people, in the ordinary course 
of events, in fifty years, will have eighty to provide 
for, and a large country will be necessary for so 
many within the lifetime of numbers now busy in the 
politics of that country. With such an acquisition, 
the United States would not be larger than Brazil 
with her six millions of people, and about one third of 
the size of the present British dominions. With such 
an acquisition, the United States would contain but 
a fraction over three millions of square miles, and 
without Texas that would be cut nearly in twain by 
a narrow slip extending to the 42d degree of north 
latitude, which is the parallel of Boston. If it be 
wise policy, and the United States extends her do- 
minions to the 28th degree upon the Pacific, then 
Texas becomes absolutely necessary to her. Then 
the Texas wedge, making into the centre of her 
square and compact surface, will appear obviously 
wrong. It would be a severance of her entirety, 
which few would be willing to reconcile ; and with- 
out a union of the two countries, a conflict of inter- 
est would inevitably grow up between the separate 
nations, detrimental certainly to one, and probably 
to both. This conflict would beget countervailing 
laws, such as are at present in the bud, and would 
produce estrangement to the advantage of European 
powers, which would profit by the quarrel. 

Secondly, This boundary, viewed with reference 
to the amelioration and ultimate destiny of the ne- 
gro population of the United States. 



Though I believe that so good a political institu- 
tion does not exist in any nation for the government 
of its poorer or more dependant population as sla- 
very in its general character in the south and south- 
western portion of the United States and Texas ; 
and while I believe that it is the reverse of either a 
" moral or political evil," viewed as it is at pres- 
ent, yet the day may come, and probably in the 
lifetime of that generation now coming into the 
world, when, either from individual interest or pub- 
lic policy, the white and black man can no longer 
occupy the same soil. Does it not, then, behoove 
the politicians of this day and time to cast about for 
the solution of that difficult problem before which 
all other questions of public policy must sink into 
utter insignificance 1 What is to be done with the 
black 1 is that difficult problem. 

In the solution of this question, I hold it to be 
self-evident, that the abolition of slavery in the Uni- 
ted States will not take place till it becomes the in- 
terest of the owner, and not then until there is a 
separate country to locate them upon. 

Both those who advocated the re-colonization of 
the black race in Africa, and the fanatical abolition- 
ist who preached the doctrine of equality in its broad 
sense, were far ahead of the question — the coloni- 
zationist, because of its impracticability, and the 
abolitionist, because neither public justice nor public 
safety would permit it. The first commenced the 
work without a due estimate of its cost, and the lat- 


ter without regard to the political safety and moral 
operation of the measure upon those immediately 
concerned. While the first met the approbation of 
many leading political philanthropists of the coun- 
try, all the means which their most sanguine expec- 
tations could hope for would not transport to their 
native country a tithe of the blacks' increase ; and 
from fanatical impulse, the latter looked to the suc- 
cessful precedent of the Northern States as their strong 
argument, without ever estimating the vast dissimi- 
larity of circumstances between the North and the 

In the fifteen free states and territories of the Amer- 
ican Union, containing a population of 9,557,055 
whites, there are only 172,892 people of colour; 
that, at the time the abolition of slavery took place 
in these states, but a small fraction of that num- 
ber existed, and their labour had become compar- 
atively profitless. How altered is the case now ! 
In the fifteen slave states and territories, with a white 
population of 4,632,053, there are 2,701,566 blacks, 
being 385,540 more than half of all the white pop- 
ulation of those states. This was the population of 
the United States in 1840, and at present the blacks 
of those states are more than three millions. Let 
us, then, strain a supposition that it was to the in- 
terest of all concerned that these three millions of 
people should be manumitted and turned over to the 
Colonization Society to be sent home to Africa : it 
would require ten thousand of the largest class mer- 


chant ships, supposing each to transport 300 souls, 
and $150,000,000, allowing the moderate expense 
of fifty dollars each to collect them together and 
transport them across the Atlantic Ocean. This is 
an amount entirely hopeless even to the most zeal- 
ous infatuist. Again, let us allow, as we know to 
be the case, that it is not the interest of those con- 
cerned to give up this large amount of property 
without a just remuneration ; yet it cannot be ex- 
pected that the government should undertake to pay 
this remuneration, which, at their present value of 
$300 each, would require $900,000,000 in addition 
to the $150,000,000 necessary to carry them to Af- 
rica : an amount which the wise will not contem- 
plate, and which the ignorant cannot estimate. 

We will again suppose that the government had 
both the will and the credit to create a par stock to 
the amount of the purchase of this property : is it 
fair to presume that the owners ever would consent 
thereto, unless the immediate cash outlay of the 
$150,000,000 for their transportation was incurred 1 

Experience, the wisest of teachers, in recurring to 
the past and present condition of the free coloured 
population of the United States, has given an unequiv- 
ocal negative to this inquiry. There are, in propor- 
tion to the number, seven times as many deaf and 
dumb, blind, insane, and idiots among the free col- 
oured population of the Northern States as among 
the slaves of the South. This fact, united with the 
startling disproportion of crime among the former 


over the latter, would forever prevent the abolition 
of slavery, when the emancipated slave is to sit 
down by the side of his late master in the enjoyr 
ment of the same political rights, to create nurseries 
of vice and misery. That the two colours can oc- 
cupy the same country without degradation attach- 
ing to the one in a greater degree than to the other 
is supremely absurd. The degraded cast, deprived 
of the honours and emoluments of office, and feel- 
ing their unequal station in society, would become 
the natural enemies of the more favoured one, which 
would result in all the horrors of bloodshed. The 
stronger party would argue that their safety was in 
the annihilation of their enemy, which would be the 
inevitable end either of the white or black commu- 
nity in any other than in their present relations of 
master and slave. In this relation, the master is not 
the enemy, but the friend and protector of his slave. 
He is so from interest, and, from long habit of pro- 
tection and friendship, is so from choice. He is the 
lawful guardian of these dependants, and interest, 
feeling, law, and public morality require him to be 
so — to provide them with food and raiment, to nurse 
them in sickness and in health, to govern them with 
humanity. In an immense majority of the slaves of 
the United States, they value this protection ; they 
feel proud of their master's friendship ; they partake 
of his character with all the feelings of birth or aris- 
tocracy to which he may have been raised, or to 
which pride, circumstance,, or ambition may cause 


him to aspire. With such feelings, millions of white 
and black do live in friendship ; sever these ties, and 
you make them enemies by arming each with polit- 
ical jealousies which must prove the injury of both, 
and certainly the destruction of one. 

Let us look into those countries of Europe where 
the labouring classes are said to be the best off — in 
England, Scotland, France, and some of the Ger- 
man states— in those countries where the more so- 
cial names of lord and tenant are used instead of 
master and slave, as in the United States ; and 
where do we find the owner responsible under all 
circumstances for the food and raiment, the medi- 
cine and physician's bill of the operative, but in the 
United States and Texas \ In these countries, the 
law makes it the master's duty, and both interest 
and attachment to the needy and afflicted makes it 
his pleasure. In these countries, the physician who 
visits the master also visits the slave; he serves 
each with the same medicine out of the same 
spoon, and charges the identical rates per mile for 
visiting the one as the other. In these countries, if 
from drought or flood, or other calamities, dearth en- 
sues, it is the master's duty to look abroad to sup- 
ply the deficiency. From the first settlement of the 
English American colonies to the present day, there 
cannot be a solitary instance cited of a slave perish- 
ing for the want of food. We do not believe that 
the same can be said of any other nation, in this or 
in any age, where the peasant is dependant upon 


the landlord for hire, and where he has no resource 
in case of misfortune or calamity to fall back upon 
save that hire. In the United States the dearth falls 
upon the master ; in Europe, it falls upon the peas- 
ant. In the former countries the master is the re- 
sponsible commissariat of his establishment ; in the 
latter, the land-rents must be paid, or a new tenant- 
ry substituted, and the greatest want will be endured 
by the tenant sooner than the loss of home. Here, 
if a tenant die for want of bread or medicine, a sur- 
plus labour of a like kind supplies his place at as 
cheap a rate. 

It is very true that in most European countries 
their poor establishments might furnish the sim- 
ple article of medicine necessary to check disease. 
This is the most inconsiderable item towards com- 
plete cure. The mode of giving it, nursing, watch- 
ing, supplying a thousand wants, and answering as 
many whims of the sick man, complete the cure. 
Such is the difference between the European hos- 
pitals, where the physician administers by the whole- 
sale, and the American negro quarter, where the 
master sees that the most minute instructions of the 
physician is attended to, and where the w T ants and 
whims of the patient is answered by a sympathizing 
hand. In the latter, whatever the convalescent ap- 
petite requires, if not prohibited by the physician, is 
furnished, and at proper times and in proper quan- 
tities. Here the negro resumes his labour when he 
feels perfectly able to do so, and not like the Euro- 


pean pauper, who, to escape the constraints of the 
poorhouse, and mingle with his every-day associa- 
tions, goes forth, half cured and half unprovided for, 
to relapse into worse sickness. 

Knowing, as we do, the improved moral and phys- 
ical condition of the slaves of the United States 
and Texas over their former naked, ignorant, and 
cannibal condition in Africa, we feel conscious of 
no moral wrong in their present ownership. We 
believe that this relationship is the happiest both for 
their physical condition and general mental capabil- 

Had Mr. O'Connell, the disturber of his own 
country, the calumniator of ours, and the reviler of 
Washington, known more of this institution, both jus- 
tice and common sense would have taught him that 
his transcendent talents might be employed in a bet- 
ter manner than in a lifetime of abuse of that coun- 
try which has opened wide the door of competence 
and happiness to hundreds of thousands of his own 
destitute countrymen. We have the evidence of 
hundreds and thousands of as honest Irishmen as 
Mr. O'Connell, that the worst possible condition of 
our negroes is far better than millions of their own 
citizens ; and while we deeply sympathize with 
these suffering millions, our sympathy can never 
excite them to an unwise opposition to their own 
government; that sympathy is to be found in our 
open houses, in our well-filled granaries, around our 
hospitable hearths, and deeply rooted in our political 


It cannot be denied that within the last twenty 
years a wonderful revolution has taken place in the 
United States in the improvement of the slave's con- 
dition, and that this improvement is still going on. 
The legislatures of the states have interposed their 
protection, while a true domestic economy has de- 
monstrated the fact, that the better fed and clothed, 
the more profitable the negro. That which has 
done most for this improvement is a charitable mo- 
rality, already wide, and still spreading throughout the 
slave portion of the Union. That just public opin- 
ion throughout the country, which stamps the bad 
master as the bad man, has done, and is still do- 
ing more for this improvement than all other causes. 
The master who would be guilty of wanton cruelty 
towards his slave is marked by his neighbour as a 
mean man ; and, feeling this blighting judgment in all 
his intercourse, he alters this treatment as he would 
avoid any other act which would bring upon him 
public reprobation. 

It was the writer's fortune to have been born a 
slave-owner in one of the most densely-populated 
slave districts of the Roanoke, and a twenty years' 
acquaintance in the Southern slave portion of the 
United States has convinced him of the truth of 
these remarks. He believes that he hazards noth- 
ing in the assertion that the general condition of 
the Southern slaves is infinitely superior to that of 
the free people of colour in the North. He will ex- 
tend his remarks to Texas, and, from an eight years' 



residence in this republic, assert, from positive 
knowledge, that the condition of her slaves are in- 
comparably superior to the free negroes of the North, 
and better than any other portion of the slaves of 
the South. And why 1 Because here is a climate 
better suited to their constitutions, and a soil more 
capable of a free and abundant produce, which 
makes the necessaries of living cheaper. 

The truth of this remark will not be difficult of 
comprehension when we state the fact that a beeve 
weighing from seven hundred to one thousand 
pounds can be raised in Texas at a less expense to 
the owner than a chicken can in Virginia, in which 
its owner finds his profits in raising and selling at 
one dime. The last season, in a large portion of 
Texas, a market could not be had for pork at one 
cent per pound, and corn at twelve cents per bush- 
el. In illustration of this subject, one other fact 
may not be out of place here — that in most any 
portion of Texas, the best beeves maybe purchased 
at an amount which the hides and tallow will bring 
in market, leaving the large amount of flesh with- 
out cost to the consumer. It may be asked with 
propriety by a person unacquainted with this fact, 
Why does not the raiser butcher his own beeves, 
and thereby save the flesh ? There are good rea- 
sons why he does not. It is his business to rear 
cattle, and not to butcher them. Large stocks are 
owned by persons who have but little else, and 
whose occupation it is to brand the calf when 


young, and look after the herd sufficiently, while 
raising, to keep them together. He consequently 
has neither time nor means to prepare the hides or 
tallow for market, and sells the beeves on foot at his 

With these facts before us, how worthless should 
be that specious but mistaken fanaticism which 
dwells with such eloquence about slavery, which 
excites such false sympathies about the "traffic in 
human blood," and which seeks to level three mil- 
lions of human beings to the wretched misery and 
wants of the free negroes of the North, or the freed 
cast of Mexico. 

I am justified in my observations while in Mex- 
ico by all late writers, that the boasted freedom of 
that country is a slavery in its horrid realities which 
attaches nowhere to the descendants of Englishmen; 
that their freedom is only in name, for want and 
wretchedness, general ignorance and slavish humil- 
ity, are seen there such as I have never, in a solitary 
instance, witnessed in the slave portion of the United 
States. Mr. Stephens, in his late work on Yucatan, 
gives the following description of this freedom in 
that country, which I copy, from its faithfulness to 
my own observation throughout Mexico. He says : 
"Looking into the corridor, we saw the poor Indian 
on his knees on the pavement, with his arms clasp- 
ed around the knees of another Indian, so as to 
present his back fairly to the lash. At every blow 
he rose on one knee, and sent forth a piercing cry. 


He seemed struggling to retain it, but it burst forth 
in spite of all his efforts. His whole bearing show- 
ed the subdued character of the present Indians, and 
with the last stripe the expression of his face seem- 
ed that of thankfulness for not getting more. With- 
out uttering a word, he crept to the major domo, 
took his hand, kissed it, and walked away. No 
sense of degradation crossed his mind. Indeed, so 
humble is this once fierce people, that they have a 
proverb of their own, 'Los Indios no oyen sino po las 
nalas — the Indians only hear through their backs." 

As I have said before, having been born and brought 
up in the slave portion of the United States, and 
been the owner of slaves all my life, I do aver that I 
never saw or heard of such a case of slavish humil- 
ity, of servile abasement, which, if anything could, 
should have disarmed law of its justice, and un- 
nerved the vengeance of a bloodhound. It is true 
that I have often known slaves improperly punish- 
ed, and equally true that I have more frequently 
known them to escape just punishment ; but I again 
repeat, that I never saw or heard in the United 
States such abasement as Mr. Stephens relates, and 
many instances which I witnessed myself in Mexico, 
where, at each stroke of the lash, the miserable Pe- 
on praises his God, "Alabo a Dios" on account of 
his master's mercy. 

It was common, upon our arrival at a hacienda in 
Mexico, to be struck with the conspicuous position 
of the stocks, a machine for punishment. This ma- 


chine is made of two pieces of timber, each about 
thirty feet in length, and three inches thick by 
twelve in breadth. These timbers are placed one 
upon the other edgewise, and at every few feet there 
is a hole large enough for one's neck, and a smaller 
one on each side for the wrist. For dereliction of 
duty, among other punishments, the petit tyrant, 
who presides over these estates as alcalde, con- 
demns the poor Peon's neck and wrist to this cruel 
duress ; and the amount of punishment may be es- 
timated at these haciendas when we state that these 
machines, each capable of punishing twelve or fifteen 
at a time, were filled. I cannot err in saying that, if 
the owner of negroes in the United States were to 
permit such an instrument of torture upon his plan- 
tation, public reprobation, universal and overwhelm- 
ing, would cause him to abandon the neighbourhood 
thus outraged. Neither in the United States nor 
in Texas will the intelligence of the age allow 
of vindictive punishment, even were that demoniac 
feeling the constitutional inheritance of so brave and 
proud a people.* 

* Since writing the above, both truth and candour require the au- 
thor to state, that in his travels in Texas he has witnessed, upon the 
plantation of one of the citizens of the republic, treatment of his slaves 
which forms the only exception, in this community, of what is above 
asserted. I witnessed working at the cotton scaffold three Africans 
wearing what the overseer familiarly called "necklaces." This " neck- 
lace" consisted of a circular piece of iron, the ends of which were fas- 
tened upon the back of the head with a stout padlock. This circular 
iron band rested in front upon the mouth, attached to which was an- 
other iron inserted in the open mouth. A second iron band was welded 
at right angles to the first, immediately in front of the mouth, and pass- 


With these facts, which are familiar to the intelli- 
gence of the South, ought the anti-slavery fanaticism 
of the North to be viewed in any other light than un- 
pardonable ignorance or unwarrantable impudence ? 
This remarkable fact is observable, that those who 
mostly concern themselves about this institution are 
those who know least about it ; and when they have 
occasionally had a response from better intelligence, 
it has been unfortunate for their cause that such re- 
sponse is traceable to the demagogue, who hopes to 
gather from such a harvest stores which will serve 
his ambition. When a gifted and leading Northern 
politician has dignified it as a " great moral question 
which must and will be heard," it was unfortunate 
for that individual, with his great and comprehensive 
intellect, that he was so little acquainted with the 
real institution, or it is hardly probable that he would 

ed over the top of the head, thence down in the direction of the padlock 
behind. Thus " necklaced," these slaves had neither power to eat, 
drink, nor speak, and at stated periods the " necklace" was taken off to 
afford them sustenance. They were working bareheaded, under a burn- 
ing August sun, in the 29th degree of north latitude. The reader can best 
imagine to himself the power of the sun upon these irons, and they in 
contact with the naked flesh. I could imagine no crime so heinous as to 
justify the punishment of this damnable machine. Upon inquiry, I was 
informed that they were made to wear these machines to prevent them 
from " eating dirt," a desire occasioned by a morbid appetite which I 
have known both in white and black. I have since learned that these 
irons were to prevent them from absconding. 

I am sensible that the abolitionist will triumph at this circumstance ; 
yet they will have but a lean argument in condemning the humanity of 
a thousand good on account of the cruelty of one bad master. It would 
be as reasonable were the censorious to condemn the whole Protestant 
Church for the crimes of one pastor, or the amours of a bishop. 


have endorsed a popular fallacy — a sophism such as 
schoolboys may debate in their college walls, but 
such as practical experience does not justify. 

In Mexico I saw a number of negroes who had 
absconded from Texas, and in no case did I see one 
whose condition was bettered, but, in most instances, 
vastly worse. I saw several anxious to return to 
their owners, and nearly all, by a few months' resi- 
dence, were as degraded as the mass of Mexicans. 
They were extremely destitute ; they who previous- 
ly never had a care, and who knew it was their mas- 
ter's business to clothe, feed, and provide them with 
every necessary, now found liberty an unreal phan- 
tom ; they found in it a licentious indulgence, which, 
instead of giving them food and raiment, brought in 
its train misery and wo. 

After all, I am forced to the conclusion that sla- 
very, as applied to this institution, is but an ugly 
name, and liberty, as applied to nineteen twentieths 
of the people of Mexico, but a handsome one, and 
that the true condition of these two countries would 
warrant a reverse of these terms ; that they are in 
either, eo nomine, arbitrary. Let us look into the 
mines and manufactories of European countries — let 
us go among their destitute millions — let us look into 
the workshops and factories of our own free North, 
and compare their condition — we are forced to be- 
lieve that the liberty of the former is a delusion, 
while the slavery of the latter is the better condition. 

From these condensed reasons, it is plain to my 


mind that no circumstances can ever occur which 
will allow the abolition of slavery throughout the 
United States, and permit the manumitted slaves to 
an equal participation either in the rights of domicil 
or citizenship. It is equally clear, that while it is 
not the will of those interested at present to allow it, 
yet, if it were, neither individuals nor government 
have the means either of purchasing or transporting 
this population to Africa. If, then, no such means 
at present exist, how much better able would govern- 
ment be at the end of twenty-five years, when the 
amount required would be doubled, and at fifty years, 
when it would be quadrupled 1 It is a reasonable 
calculation, that at the end of fifty years the colour- 
ed population of the United States will exceed twelve 
millions; and, estimating their then value by their 
average value for the last fifty years, with the cost 
of transporting them to Africa, it would exceed the 
national debt of Great Britain, or three times the 
amount of every specie dollar in circulation through- 
out Christendom, and would require all the navies 
of Great Britain, France, Russia, and the United 
States twelve years to transport them, allowing each 
vessel to make three trips per annum, and carry 
three hundred souls each over and above their own 
complement of men. 

If we look to what most certainly will be the ag- 
gregate of this population within the lifetime of 
many of our children now born, and estimating that 
aggregate by their average increase for the last fifty 


years, we conclude that the generation now coming 
upon the stage will see the monstrous whole of twen- 
ty millions. To the political philanthropist, who 
may reasonably calculate many changes of interest 
and policy, which may by this time spring up be- 
tween the master and these probable unprofitable 
millions, his mind should seek to provide for them 
against a destiny so impending. A sure and certain 
provision is in the reach of the politicians of that 
country. It requires boldness to avow it, but that 
boldness is based upon the great necessity of the 
case, and, as such, the justice of nations will acqui- 
esce in the measure. To provide these existing and 
forthcoming millions with a country accessible, and 
a climate suitable to that physical constitution which 
the great Author of the universe has given them, our 
southern boundary should extend to the twentieth de- 
gree of north latitude, and nearly all will be accom- 
plished which human wisdom can provide. Here is 
a country in soil, climate, and every other consider- 
ation far superior to the best portions of their native 
continent, within reach, and in the immediate direc- 
tion of that great tide of emigration which is fast 
sweeping them from the ungenial and unprofitable 
North. By the immediate contiguity of this coun- 
try to the United States, it will cost no greater out- 
lay of means to transport them than the natural 
course of events will create and provide for. 

If the object of the abolitionist is benevolence to 
the black race^ — if he wishes to avert this possible 



calamity and ruin — he should urge upon his govern- 
ment the acquisition of that which will most certain- 
ly effect it. Without professing to see farther in fu- 
turity than the lights which past experience will jus- 
tify, it does appear to my mind that in seventy years, 
when the coloured population of the United States 
shall have increased to twenty, and the white, in 
their proportionate ratio, to one hundred and thirty 
millions, many, very many reasons teach that so 
many people, so differently marked by nature, can- 
not live in harmony within the present limits of that 
country. That in view of the case, whether their 
relative political condition shall remain as at pres- 
ent, or undergo the worst radical changes, the same 
good reasons urge this measure. How solicitous, 
then, should the busy politician of that country now 
feel, when, in acting, or in failing to act upon this 
subject, he knows that the weal or wo of his chil- 
dren, and his children's children, is so directly con- 
cerned. He should approach the subject with the 
anxiety of a father who wishes to leave to his off- 
spring the inheritance of no litigious interest, and 
feels that in its present settlement he wills to that 
posterity a long and glorious welfare. 

If the declaration of the English government is 
uninfluenced by national aggrandizement, but alone 
by the philanthropic desire of promoting the wel- 
fare and happiness of this race, she must rejoice in 
an event so calculated to promote this end as the 
settlement of this country with the blacks of the 


United States. It is a law well settled, both in the 
physiology of animals and plants, that the farther 
you remove either from their natural climate, so in 
proportion to that distance are they subject to an 
increase of disease. The United States census of 
1840 has given a melancholy iustance of this fact 
in the returns from the two extremes of that Repub- 
lic : in the State of Maine, being the most northern, 
one is either deaf, dumb, blind, or an idiot, out of 
every twelve, while in Florida, the most southern, 
one out of each eleven hundred and five are thus 
afflicted, the difference in favour of southern cli- 
mate being ninety-two to one. Allowing that much 
of this disease in Maine is the result of freeing a 
people incapable of properly providing for themselves, 
still these facts must be so convincing to the philan- 
thropist as to cause him to use all proper means to 
restore the coloured race to as near their native cli- 
mate as practicable 


No. I. 

A List of Texians who Fought in the Battle of Mier on the 25th and 26th De- 
cember, 1842. 

No. Names. 


Nativity. Remar 

1 Ackerman, Peter, 


New- York. 

2 Alexander, John R., 



3 Alexander, Matthew, 



4 Alexander, W. A., 



5 Allen, David, 



6 Anderson, George, 



7 Armstrong, Alexander, 

Fort Bend, 


8 Armstrong, James C, 


, Tennessee. 

9 Arthur, F., 



10 Atwood, William, 


11 Austin, James, 



12 Baker, John R., 


Tennessee, Captain. 

13 Barber, James, 



14 Barney, Daniel F., 


, Kentucky. 

15 Barney, T. A. 

Fort Bend, 


16 Bassett,R.P., 


, Kentucky. 

17 Beale, Robert, 

Fort Bend, 

Dist. Columbia. s 

18 Beard, Robert, 

Fort Bend, 


19 Beard, William, 

Fort Bend, 


20 Beasley, D. H. E., 


North Carolina 

21 Bell, Thomas W., 


North Carolina. 

22 Bennett, Samuel P., 



23 Berry, Bate J., 



24 Berry, Joseph, 



25 Bideler, John, 



26 Blackburn, John, 



27 Blanton, John B., 



28 Bobo, Lynn, 


South Carolina. 

29 Boon, Benjamin, 


30 Boswell, Ransom, 



31 Bowman, B. F., 


New- York. 

32 Bray, F., 





No. Names. 

33 Brennan, John, 

34 Brennem, Richard F., 

35 Bridger, Henry, 

36 Brown, Richard, 

37 Brush, Gilbert R., 

38 Bryant, W. B. 0., 

39 Burras, A. T., 

40 Burk, James, 

41 Bush, , 

42 Buster, Claudius, 

43 Calvert, John, 

44 Cameron, Ewin, 

45 Canfield, Israel, 

46 Carter, William T., 

47 Cash, L. L., 

48 Censibeau, T. J., 

49 Chalk, Winfield, 

50 Clark, Willis G., 

51 Clarke, Charles, 

52 Clopton, William, 

53 Cocke, J. D., 

54 Cody, W. H., 

55 Colville, Thomas, 

56 Copeland, Willis, 

57 Cox, Thomas W., 

58 Crawford, Robert M., 

59 Crittenden, George B., 

60 Davis, Campbell, 

61 Davis, Daniel, 

62 Davis, Thomas, 

63 Davis, William, 

64 Davis, W. K., 

65 Dickson, , 

66 Dillon, John F., 

67 Dougherty, Patrick, 

68 Douglas, Freeman W., 

69 Downes, N. G., 

70 Dunbar, William, 

71 Dunham, Robert, 

72 Dusenberry, John, 

73 Eastland, William M., 

Residence. Nativity. Remarks. 

Victoria, New- York. 

Travis, Kentucky, M.D. 

Gonzales, Pennsylvania. 

Liberty, South Carolina. 

Fort Bend, New- York, Boy. 

Fort Bend. 

Austin, Kentucky. 

Fort Bend, Ohio. 

Washington, Canada. 

Washington, Kentucky, Captain. 

Victoria, Scotland, Captain. 

Refugio, New- Jersey. 
Victoria, North Carolina. 
Victoria, Pennsylvania. 
Washington, Tennessee. 
Milam, Virginia. 

Jackson, Missouri. 
Brazoria, New- York, Lieutenant. 
Bastrop, Tennessee, Lieutenant. 
Harris, Virginia. 

Austin, Tennessee. 

Harris, Scotland. 

Nacogdoches, Ohio. 
Fayette, Kentucky, Lieutenant. 

Fort Bend, Kentucky, Lieutenant. 

Washington, Tennessee. 
Victoria, Kentucky. 
Washington, New- York. 
Bastrop, Maryland. 
Fort Bend, Alabama. 
Harrison, Indiana. 
Victoria, Tennessee. 

Brazoria, Georgia, Lieutenant, 

Victoria, Connecticut. 
Bastrop, Tennessee. 
Montgomery, Tennessee. 
Harris, New- York. 

Fayette, Tennessee, Captain. 



No. Names. 




74 Edwards, LeonidasD.F. 

., Washington, 


75 Este, Edward, 



76 Fisher, William S., 




77 Fitzgerald, John, 

Fort Bend, 


78 Frensley, William H., 

Fort Bend, 


79 Gattis, D. H., 



80 Gibson, F. M., 

Fort Bend, 



81 Gibson, William, 



82 Glascock, James A., 




83 Gleason, Cyrus K., 


New- York. 

84 Goodman, Stephen, 

Fort Bend, 


85 Green, Thomas J., 


North Carolina, 

( Com. of flotilla 
( and r't. wing-. 

86 Grosjean, P. C, 


87 Grubs, F., 

Montgomery, Alabama. 

88 Hallowell, Daniel A., 


89 Hanna, , 

Montgomery, South Carolina. 

90 Hannom, William H., 


, Georgia. 

91 Harris, Robert, 



92 Harrison, F. W. T., 


, Alabama. 

93 Harvey, John, 



94 Hasmore, William H., 


95 Hays, Lewis, 

South Carolina. 

96 Heddenburg, Abr'm. D., 

, Montgomery, New- York. 

97 Henrie, Daniel Drake, 



( Late Midship. 
1 in U.S.N. 

98 Hensley, Charles, 


, Tennessee. 

99 Hill, Asa, 


North Carolina. 

100 Hill, Charles, 



101 Hill, Jeffrey, 



/ The smallest 

102 Hill, John, 



) boy at Mier 
'j — adopted by 
' Santa Anna. 

103 Hoffer, John, 


104 Holderman, Allen, 



105 Hopson, William, 



106 Hugh, Frank, 



107 Humphries, J. J., 



108 Irvin. John, 


109 Isam, Zed., alias Iceland 

, Gonzales, 


110 Jackson, A., 



Ill Jackson, Edward B., 



112 Johnson, Jack, 





No. Names. 

113 Jones, John E., 

114 Jones, Thomas L., 

115 Jones, Wiley, 

116 Journie, H., 

117 Kaigler, William, 

118 Kaughman, E. G., 

119 Kean, Edward, 

120 Kean, Richard, 

121 Kelly, Charles S., 

122 King, R. B., 

123 Kirkendall, Hanks, 

124 Lacy, John, 

125 Laforge, A. B., 

126 Lee, Alfred A., 

127 Lehan, Jerry, 

128 Lewis, A. J., 

129 Lewis, William B., 

130 Livergood, G. H., 

131 Locherman, Stanley, 

132 Lord, George, 

133 Lusk, P. H., 

134 Lyon, Samuel C., 

135 Lyons, Patrick, 

136 Mahan, Patrick. 

137 Malby, T. D., 

138 Mallen, Nathan, 

139 Martin, William, 

140 Matthews, Alexander, 

141 Maxwell, P. M., 

142 Middleton, Bemoni, 

143 Middleton, William B., 

144 Miller, William (Dutch), 

145 Miller, William, 

146 Millon, W. E. (late Capt), 

147 Mills, John, 

148 Mills, Lawson, 

149 Mitchell, William, 

150 Moore, William H., 

151 Moore, William, 

152 Morehead, Jonathan, 

153 Morgan, John, 


Nativity. Remarks. 








New- York. 






, Kentucky. 


, Kentucky. 

Fort Bend, 


Montgomery, Tennessee. 

Fort Bend, 





New- York. 


North Carolina, Lieutenant. 













, Tennessee. 


England, Sailingmaster 

















', Illinois. 











, Missouri. 



Fort Bend, 








No. Names. 




154 Morrell, H. B., 

Fort Bend, 


155 Morris, William, 

Fort Bend, 


156 Mosier, Abram, 



157 Marry, Thomas A., 




158 M'Cauley, Malcolm, 



159 M'Cutcheon, J. D., 


, Tennessee. 

160 M'Dade, . 


161 M'Donald, Daniel, 


New- York. 

162 M'Fall, Samuel, 



163 M'Ginly, John, 

Montgomery, Pennsylvania. 

164 M'lllrea, William J., 



165 M'Kendall, , 



166 M'Laughlin, Charles, 




167 M'Lelland, Samuel, 



168 M'Math, , 


, Georgia, 


169 M'Micken, James, 



170 M'Mullen, John, 



171 Nealy, James B., 

Montgomery, Alabama. 

172 Nealy, James H., 


South Carolina 

173 Nelson, Thomas, 



174 Oats, Harvey H., 



175 Ogden, James, 



176 Oldham, William, 



177 Overton, , 



178 Owen, John, 



179 Peacock, James, 



180 Phelps, Orlando, 



181 Pierson, J. G. W., 


, North Carolina, 

, Captain. 

182 Piland, George W., 

Fort Bend, 


183 Pilley, Robert M., 



184 Pitts, E. H., 

Fort Bend, 


185 Porter, Elisha, 



186 Randolph, Perry, 

Montgomery, Alabama. 

187 Reese, C. K., 




188 Reese, William, 




189 Rice, James 0., 


South Carolina. 

190 Rice, Lorenzo, 



191 Rice, Sandford, 


New- York. 

192 Riley, Francis, 

Fort Bend, 


193 Ripley, William, 



194 Roark, A. J., 

Fort Bend, 

3 L 




No. Names. 




195 Roberts, 0., 



196 Roberts, H. H., 


North Carolina 

197 Rocky fellow, Peter, 


New- York. 

198 Rogers, Mark, 



199 Rowan, William, 

Fort Bend, 


200 Runyan, William J., 



201 Ryan, William, 

Fort Bend, 



202 Sansberry, John, 

Fort Bend, 


203 Sargeant, Carter, 



204 Sargeant, William, 



205 Saunders, Leonidas, 

Montgomery, Tennessee. 

206 Scott, William Y., 



207 Sellers, Harvey W., 




208 Shepherd, J. L., 



209 Shepherd, William M., 




210 Shipman, John, 

Fort Bend, 



211 Simons, Joseph, 



212 Sinniekson, J. J., 




213 Smith, Donald, 



214 Smith, Ezekiel, 



215 Smith, Joseph, 



216 Smith, Robert, 



217 Smith, Thomas S., 

Washington, Maryland. 

218 St. Clair, Caleb, 


New- York. 

219 Stapp, W. P., 



220 Sullivan, Daniel C, 



221 Sweizy, John, 


222 Tanney, John, 



223 Tatum, Thomas, 



224 Thompson, J. M. N. 



225 Thompson, Thomas A., 



226 Thompson, William, 

San Patricio, England. 

227 Thurmond, Alfred S., 




228 Torrey, James N., 



229 Toops, John, 


, Ohio. 

230 Towers, Isaac, 


New- York, 


231 Trehern, G. Washingtoi 

3, Victoria, 


232 Turner, Robert W., 



233 Turnbull, James, 




234 Urie, James, 


South Carolina. 

235 Usher, Patrick, 




No. Names. 



236 Vandyke, Wilson M., 



237 Van Horn, William H., 



238 Van Vechten, D. H., 



239 Walker, Samuel H., 



240 Wallace, William A., 



241 Waters, Robert G., 

Fort Bend, 

South Carolina. 

242 Watkins, Joseph D., 


, Louisiana. 

243 Weeks, Henry D., 


New- York. 

244 Whaling, Henry, 



245 White, Calvin C, 



246 White, Francis, 



247 White, James S., 


248 Wilson, James C, 



249 Wilson, William F., 



250 Wilson, Zaccheus, 

Montgomery, Tennessee. 

251 Wilson, , (Irish), 

Montgomery, Ireland. 

252 Williams, Levi, 



253 Willis, 0. R., 


254 Willoughby, Robert, 



255 Wing, M. C, 



256 Woodland, Henry, 



257 Wright, E. D., 


i, North Carolina. 

258 Wyatt, J. P., 



259 Wynn, William, 

Montgomery, Kentucky. 

260 Young, James, 


New- York. 

261 Zumatt, Isaac, 





A List of Tezians killed at the Battle of Mier. 

1 Austin, James. 6 Hopson, William. 

2 Bassett, . 7 Jackson, A. 

3 Berry, Joseph. 8 Jones, John E. 

4 Dickson, . 9 Towers, Isaac, M.D. 

5 Hannom, William H. 10 White, Calvin C. 

Total, 10 

A List of Texians who died of their Wounds, received at the Battle of Mier. 

1 Bobo, Lynn. 4 M'lllrea, William J. 

2 Kirkendall, Hanks. 5 M'Kendall, Alexander. 

3 Locherman, Stanley. 6 Urie, James. Total, 6 


A List of Texians who fell at Salado in their Attack upon the Guards, I'lth 
February, 1843. 

1 Brennem, Richard F., M.D. 4 Lyons, Patrick. 

2 Fitzgerald, Archibald. 5 Rice, Lorenzo. 

3 Higgerson, John. Total, 5 
N. B. — Fitzgerald and Higgerson were of the Bexar prisoners, taken 

by General Woll in September, 1842. 

A List of Texians decimated and shot at Salado by order of President San- 
ta Anna, on March %bth, 1843. 

1 Cash, L. L. 10 Roberts, Charles. 

2 Cocke, James D. 11 Rowan, William. 

3 Dunham, Robert. 12 Shepherd, J. L. 

4 Eastland, William M., Captain. 13 Thompson, J. M. N. 

5 Este, Edward. 14 Torrey, James N. 

6 Harris, Robert. 15 Turnbull, James. 

7 Jones, Thomas L. 16 Whaling, Henry. 

8 Mahan, Patrick. 17 Wing, M. C. 

9 Ogden, James. Total 17 

April 25th, 1843. — Shot by order of President Santa Anna. 

Captain Ewin Cameron. Total, 1 

A List of Texians who died in the Mountains after the Break at Salado. 

1 Cody, William H. 4 Randolph, Perry. 

2 Lewis, A. J. 5 Rice, Sandford. 

3 Mitchell, William. Total, 5 

A List of Texians left in the Mountains after the Victory of Salado, and 
supposed to be Dead. 

1 Anderson, George. 4 Morehead, Jonathan. 

2 Bray, F. 5 Nealy, James B.* 

3 Calvert, John.* Total, 5 

A List of Texians who died from Suffering and Starvation in Mexico. 

1 Beard, Robert. 7 Colville, Thomas. 

2 Beard, William. 8 Crawford, Robert M. 

3 Bennett, Samuel P. 9 Grosjean, P. C. 

4 Blanton, John B. 10 Hallowell, Daniel A. 

5 Bryant, W. B. C. 11 Hill, Charles. 

6 Burras, A. T. 12 Holderman, Allen. 

* Taken upon the Rio Grande subsequently, and carried to Mexico. 


13 Irvin, John. 25 Saunders, Leonidas. 

14 Kaughman, E. G. 26 Shipman, John. 

15 Martin, William. 27 Simons, Joseph. 

16 Middleton, Bemoni. 28 Smith, Robert. 

17 Miller, William. 29 Usher, Patrick 

18 Miller, William. 30 Van Horn, William H. 

19 Morris, William. 31 White, James S. 

20 M'Dade, . 32 Wilson, Zaccheus. 

21 M'Lelland, Samuel. 33 Willis, 0. R. 

22 Owen, John. 34 W T yatt, J. P. 

23 Porter, Elisha. 35 One other not remembered. 

24 Sargeant, Carter. Total, 35 

Aggregate Number of Mier men Dead 84 

Released by President Santa Anna through the Intercession of General Wad- 
dy Thompson, United States Minister. 

1 Canfield, Israel.* 5 Reese, William. 

2 Crittenden, Geo. B., Lieutenant. 6 Sinnickson, J. J., M.D. 

3 Lusk, P. H.t 7 Waters, Robert. 

4 Phelps, Orlando (by Santa Anna) Total, 7 

Released through the Intercession of H. B. MSs Minister. 

1 Clarke, Charles, Lieutenant. 3 Murry, Thomas A., Adjutant. 

2 Lehan, Jerry. 4 Smith, Donald. Total, 4 

Santa Anna having adopted the Boy, John Hill, released his Father and 

1 Hill, Asa. 2 Hill, Jeffrey. Total, 2 

Tezians who made their Escape from Mier on the Evening of the Capitulation. 
1 Chalk, Winfield. 2 St. Clair, Caleb. Total, 2 

Texians who were left Wounded at Mier, and who effected their Escape. 

1 Beale, Robert. 5 Mallen, Nathan. 

2 Bideler, John. 6 Rice, James 0. 

3 Hays, Lewis. 7 Ripley, William. 

4 Piland, George W. 8 Weeks, Henry D. Total, 8 

* Released by request of John Q. Adams and Mahlon Dickerson. 
t Released by request of General Jackson. 



Texians who effected their Escape from the City of Mexico. 

1 Copeland, Willis (retaken). 

2 Crawford, Robert M. 

3 Dougherty, Patrick. 

4 Fitzgerald, John. 

5 Gattis, D. H. 

6 Morgan, John. 

7 Thompson, William. 

8 Walker, Samuel H. 

9 Wilson, James C. 

Total, 9 

Those who effected their Escape from the Mountains after the Victory of Sa- 
lado, and arrived safely in Texas. 

1 Alexander, John R. 3 Cox, Thomas W., Lieutenant. 

2 Blackburn, John. 4 Oldham, William. Total, 4 

Those who escaped from the Castle of Perote, July 2d, 1843. 

1 Green, Thomas J. 3 Reese, Charles K. 

2 Henrie, Daniel Drake. Total, 3 

Total number of Texians killed, starved, escaped, and released, 125 
Of the Mier Command, remaining in Mexico up to last advices, 136 



The following Detail, as a Camp Guard, was left upon the East Side of the 
Rio Grande on the 25th December, 1842, and ivho retreated into Texas. 
Captain Buster's Company. 

1 HackstafF, . 

2 Hensley, William. 

3 Hicks, . 

4 Hyde, A. C, Orderly Sergeant. 

5 M'Quin, Major. 

6 Ransom, Thomas. 

7 Smith, Gabriel. 

8 Turner, . 

9 Vanham, . 

10 Watson, Doctor. 

11 Wilkerson, Warren, First Lieu- 

Captain Cameron's 

1 Canty, John. 

2 Donnall, — -. 

3 Earnest, . 

4 Ward, William. 

5 Yates, A. J. 

Total, 11 


Total, 5 

Captain Eastland's Company. 

1 Alley, George W. 

2 Ambrose, M. 

3 Bissell, Theodore. 

4 Buckman, Oliver. 

5 Clark, . 

6 Holton, W. S. 

7 Hudson, David. 

8 Marlow, Edward. 

9 Vincent, E. A. Total, 9 

Captain Ryan's Company. 

1 Brown, Edward. 

2 Buckhannan, J. 

3 Dresser, William E. 

4 Gilpin, Ralph. 

5 Kirkendall, Moses. 

6 Lucas, Z. 

7 One other not remembered. 

Total, 7 


Captain Reese's Company. Captain Pearson's Company. 

1 Calder, Sidney. 1 Oldham, Thomas. 

2 Hancock, F. 2 Owens, . 

3 Phelps, Virgil. 3 Smith, George. Total, 3 

4 Walton, George. j Bonnel? George w ? First Lieu . 

5 Warren, Thomas. tenant of the Flotilla> * 

6 West, Gilford. Total, 6 

Total, 1 
Total . . . - . . .42 

Of the Sixty-seven Bexar Prisoners captured by General Woll in Septem- 
ber, 1842, and carried into Mexico, the following made their Escape from 
the Castle of Perote, July 2d, 1842. 

1 Barclay, Richard. 4 Forrester, John. 

2 Cornegay, R. 5 Toowig, John. 

3 Dalrymple, John, who succeeded Total, 5 

in reaching Texas. 

Those who made their Escape from the Castle at the same time, but were re- 

1 Allen, Isaac. 5 Hancock, Thomas. 

2 Beck, T. B. 6 Ogden, D. C. 

3 Davis, D. J. 7 Stone, Samuel C. 

4 Elley, Augustus. 8 Young, John. 

Released by Santa Anna. 
1 Robinson, James H. (Lawyer Robinson, his Commissioner). Total, 1 

Released through the Intercession of General Waddy Thompson, the United 
States Minister. 

1 Hutchinson, Judge. 3 Maverick, S. H. 

2 Jones, William E. Total, 3 

Released through the Intercession of General Andrew Jackson. 
1 Bradley, John. Total, 1 

Killed at Salado, February 11th, 1843. 
1 Fitzgerald, Archibald. 2 Higgerson, John. Total, 2 

* It has already been explained how Major Bonnel, Doctor Watson, and Private Hack- 
staff came to be left at the Camp. 


Those who died in Prison in Mexico. 

1 Booker, Shields, M.D. 5 Jackson, . 

2 Crews, • . 6 Trapnell, John. 

3 Cunningham, . 7 Trimble (Tecolote). 

4 Grey, French S. 8 Woods, Norman. Total, 8 

Those who escaped from Mexico. 

1 Hatch, George. 3 Neal, . 

2 Morgan, . Total, 3 

General Waddy Thompson, the United States Minister, upon leaving Mexi- 
co, procured the Liberation of the following, being the Remainder of the 
Bexar Prisoners alive, with the exception of George Van Ness, who was a 
Santa Fe Prisoner. 

1 Alsbarry, A. H. 19 Man ton, Edward. 

2 Allen, Isaac. 20 Monell, A. H. 

3 Beck, T. B. 21 Morgan, J. C. 

4 Brown, Edward. 22 M'Kay, Francis. 

5 Brown, James H. 23 Neighbours, R. C. 

6 Bugg, William. 24 Nobles, S. L. 

7 Colquhoun, Lodovic. 25 Ogden, D. C. 

8 Davis, D. J. 26 Perry, John. 

9 Elley, Augustus. 27 Peterson, C. W. 

10 Faison, Nathaniel. 28 Raper, M. L. B. 

11 Glenn, Simeon. 29 Robinson, Joseph. 

12 Hancock, Thomas. 30 Schaffer, George. 

13 Herbert, Nathaniel. 31 Shaw, Joseph. 

14 Hurrell, M. 32 Smith, John. 

15 Johnson, Chauncey. 33 Stone, Samuel C. 

16 Lehman, John. 34 Trueheart, James L. 

17 Leslie, A. J. 35 Voss, J. G. A. 

18 Lee, John. 36 Young, John. Total, 36 

1 Novell, Samuel, previously, and, 2 Van Ness, George, subsequently, 
released. Total, 2 

Total 61 

We have no knowledge of the six remaining Bexar prisoners, but pre- 
sume they have perished with their companions. 

The patriotic Antonio Navarro, one of the Santa Fe prisoners, who was 
confined in the Accordada, the most loathsome and infamous prison in Mex- 



ico, where he, for more than two years, suffered more than the horrors 
of death, has been lately sent to the Castle of San Juan d'Ulloa, where 
the humanity of the " magnanimous" nation has consigned him to the 


The Places of Nativity and Residence of those engaged in the Battle of . 


December 25th and 26th, 1842. 






Austin County, 



Alabama, United States, 












































Fort Bend 







































New- York, 







North Carolina, 





















South Carolina, 
























San Patricio 




District of Columbia, 







Number from the United States, 219 

Not claiming 

ti It 


. 17 

England, \ 

Ireland, _ ,. , 

, >Englishsubiects, 34 
Scotland, [ 




, 261 

Canada, J 


France . 




Nativity not known 




* During the State Revolution in Mexico, Colonel Navarro escaped from the Castle of 
San Juan d'Ulloa, and has safely arrived in Texas, where he was met by the wannest con- 
gratulations of his friends and countrymen. 



The following Mier Prisoners made their Escape from the Castle of Perote 
on the 25th of March, 1844. The first Nine upon the List reached their 
Homes in safety, and the remaining Seven were recaptured. 

1 Arthur, Francis. 9 Laforge, A. B. 

2 Frensley, William H. 10 Moore, William. 

3 Gleason, Cyrus K. 11 Runyan, William T. 

4 Goodman, Stephen. 12 Smith, T. 

5 Johnson, John. 13 Tanney, John. 

6 Jones, Wiley. 14 Toops, John. 

7 Kean, Richard. 15 Wright, E. D. 

8 Kean, Edward. 16 Wynn, William. Total, 16 

No. II. 

The following correspondence, published soon after the return of the 
author from Mexico, will speak for itself, and satisfy every one who will 
take the pains to examine it of the infamous agency President Houston 
had in the murder of our countrymen in Mexico : 

' To the People of Texas, — However unpleasant it may be to appear 
before you through the columns of a newspaper, it is a matter in which I 
have at present no choice. The President of your Republic on the one 
hand, and your countrymen now in chains, and the most odious slavery 
in Mexico on the other, are the parties at issue. I, more fortunate than 
they, favoured by an all- wise Providence, and an energy befitting the fear- 
ful task, with some few of my comrades, escaped through the walls of 
Perote some weeks since. A solemn duty I owe myself, my unfortunate 
fellow-prisoners, and my country, demands of me, with the evidences in 
my possession, to disabuse the public mind in what has been affirmed on 
one hand, and unblushingly denied by President Houston and his parti- 
sans on the other, to wit : ' That he wrote, or caused to be written, to 
Mexico, by Captain Charles Elliott, her Britannic majesty's charge d'af- 
faires at Galveston, that the Mier prisoners had entered Mexico contrary to 
law and authority.'' 

" Whatever may have been the ostensible pretext of General Houston's 
communication — and he pretends to ask mercy for his countrymen— yet 
his high authority that the Mier men had entered Mexico contrary to law 
and authority furnished the tyrant of that country all the legal pretext he 
could have desired in slaking his bloodthirsty vengeance upon the citi- 
zens of our country. It would, indeed, be an unjust denial of that per- 
sonal and political acumen which General Houston's friends claim for 


him, to say that he could not foresee the consequences of that communi- 
cation. The murder of our twenty-seven countrymen at Tampico, of 
Colonel Fannin and his brave four hundred, of many of the Santa Fe pris- 
oners, and a thousand other acts of savage cruelty inflicted upon us du- 
ring this war by Mexico, all too plainly told General Houston that his ask- 
ing ' mercy for the Mier men' would not weigh a feather in the balance 
against Santa Anna's cold-blooded vindictiveness, after he (Houston) had 
in effect pronounced them brigands and marauders upon Mexico. One 
year previous to the battle of Mier the bloody tyrant had published a de- 
cree ' that in future the war with Texas should be conducted upon the 
principles of civilized warfare,' and the Mier men, under their articles of 
capitulation, were guaranteed in a full observance of this decree. It was 
necessary, then, before he could once more, in the face of these solemn 
guarantees and the civilized world, dip his hands in the blood of your 
countrymen, to have some legal pretext for so doing. General Houston 
furnished him that pretext, and the murder of the brave Cameron, Cocke, 
Dunham, Ogden, Eastland, Jones, and their comrades in death, is the con- 
sequence, and their blood is upon his head. 

" While myself and companions were incarcerated in the vilest dun- 
geon in Mexico, and had no power of speaking upon this subject, General 
Houston and his partisans boldly denied the charge, and referred exult- 
ingly to the secretary of state's letter, published in June, to the Hon. 
Ashbel Smith, our minister in London. One word of this letter — where- 
fore put it off from the battle of Mier in December up to June 1 All the 
evils which it sought to remedy was of six months' standing. From the 
date of our inglorious surrender at Mier on the 26th of December, up to 
the middle of March, we had been treated with all the consideration 
which our articles of capitulation guarantied ; then comes this ' merci- 
ful' death-warrant of General Houston. Santa Anna forthwith orders 
General Mexier, Governor of Cohuilla, to shoot the whole of our prison- 
ers in his charge, numbering one hundred and seventy odd. This brave 
soldier refused positively so to do ; and three days after, the order, 
through the influence of the foreign ministers, was countermanded. Gov- 
ernor Mexier was then ordered to decimate them, which he also refused 
to do, for which he was broke of his commission, and banished the coun- 
try ; when a murderous wretch was specially charged with the execution 
of this horrible black bean lottery, and thus fell those brave men, who had 
so often staked their lives in defence of your liberty. After this most un- 
just and infamous butchery, which was on the 25th of March, the balance 
of the Mier men were still in the most imminent peril. On the 25th 
of April, the brave and lamented Cameron was taken out and shot 
without any cause being given. Immediately, however, after the first 


order for shooting our men had gone forth, we lost no time in writing 
home for evidences of General Houston's falsehood. They were fur- 
nished by the bushel. Among these were his ridiculous and bombastic 
newspaper gasconade, in answer to Santa Anna's letter to General Ham- 
ilton — his numerous war proclamations — his bloody war speeches at Gal- 
veston and elsewhere — his proclamation of the 16th of September, 1842, 
calling upon all of the first class of militia of the counties west of the 
Trinity, and under which proclamation we came out, and in which he au- 
thorized the men to ' call to their lead a, man of wisdom, valour, and experi- 
ence^ and ' -pursue the enemy into Mexico, and chastise him for his insolence 
and wrongs' Also the law of Texas of January, 1840, authorizing us to 
elect our commander, and last, though not least, the Constitution of your 
country, by which foreigners, at least, are taught to believe that President 
Houston's dictum is not superior to that sacred instrument. These were 
the evidences which General Thompson so humanely alludes to in his let- 
ter of the 10th of June, to his Excellency Mr. Doyle, and which armed 
him so completely against the machinations of your President and the 
bloodthirsty vengeance of his friend Santa Anna. 

" Feeling now that the last blood had flowed which it was in the power 
of General Houston's vindictiveness to the Mier command to shed, and 
many of my prison companions looking to me to vindicate them against 
the foul aspersions of their unjust President, on the 29th of May I wrote 
to General Thompson to preserve me a copy of the letter which General 
Houston had caused to be written to Mexico. In doing so, I felt a duty 
more weighty, and far more sacred, than any obligation to the living. 
The honest reputation of the dead was the only legacy bequeathed by 
these murdered heroes to their mourning friends and destitute wives and 
children : that I shall be in any way instrumental in perpetuating the rec- 
ord that their husbands and fathers did not die robbers, as President 
Houston pronounced them, will be to me a lasting gratification ; while to 
them, in long years to come, they may look back upon the fact as their 
proudest recollection, that the traducer of the dead was proved their 
slanderer and murderer. 

" Can it be possible that President Houston has a friend so blinded in 
his party zeal as not to know that Commodore Moore and the whole of 
his crew would have been shot, had they by any chance of war fallen 
into the hands of the Mexicans, after President Houston's proclamation 
of piracy against him 1 yet the Mier case is one point, with this difference, 
that they were already in the hands of the Mexicans, and it suited Gen- 
eral Houston's policy to have them killed off more secretly, and under 
-ome pretence of mercy. 

"My letter to General Thompson of the 29th of May, above alluded to, 


produced the following correspondence between him and the Hon. Mr. 
Doyle (letters numbered 1, 2, 3, 4), and from General Thompson to my- 
self (numbered 5 and 6). By this correspondence it will be seen that I 
am first referred to the author of the letter for a copy, and in the event 
of refusal, then General Thompson promises his statement of its contents. 
Upon my arrival in Galveston, I addressed letter No. 7 to Captain Elliott. 
His answer, No. 8, shows his refusal to furnish said letter, which brought 
forth my reply, No. 9. I should then have applied to President Houston 
for the copy in question, but Mr. S. H. Walker, one of my fellow-prison- 
ers lately escaped from Mexico, having applied to General Houston for 
the same, received General Houston's verbal denial of the existence of 
such letter. This correspondence will show that Captain Elliott, Mr. 
Doyle, General Thompson — all, except your President, are too honourable 
to deny the existence of the letter, and he does it with the same unblush- 
ing hardihood which has caused him to deny a thousand things he has ut- 
tered. Vice and crime delight in darkness, and General Houston may 
have supposed that his blunt denial would stop all inquiry upon the sub- 
ject, but in this he adds moral turpitude to heinous guilt, and therefore 
deserves the more the execrations of his countrymen. 

" Fellow-citizens, well may you ponder upon the political condition of 
your country, and some seek refuge in acknowledging the supremacy of 
degraded Mexico, some in abolition, some in annexation, when such 
things are allowed. What a commentary upon our government ! If the 
poorest man were to commit murder upon his neighbour, he would be 
hanged therefor ; but President Houston, in the unchecked practice of 
every political enormity, can do so by the regiment and fleet without 
punishment. I am, very respectfully, your old friend, 

" Thomas J. Green. 

" November 10th, 1845." 

(No. 1.) 

Mexico, June 8th, 1843. 
My dear Sir, — I send you herewith a letter recently received from 
General T. J. Green, of Texas, and shall be obliged to you for an extract 
of that portion of the letter of Mr. Elliott to Mr. Packenham to which 
General Green alludes. I deem it proper to add, that although the com- 
munications made to me of the contents of Captain Elliott's, either by 
Mr. Packenham or yourself, were not of a confidential character, nor did 
I consider that any such confidence was implied, yet I neither made any 
communication on the subject to General Green, nor authorized any one 
else to do so. I am, &c, &c, &c, 

(Signed), Waddy Thompson. 

Hon. Percy W. Doyle. 


(No. 2.) 

Mexico, June 9th, 1843. 

My clear General, — I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 
yesterday's date, enclosing one you had received from General T. J. 
Green, of Texas, and requesting me to give you an extract of a letter 
written by Captain Elliott, her majesty's charge de affaires in Texas, to 
Mr. Packenham on the subject of the Texian prisoners. I regret to be 
obliged to refuse the request you make, for the letter is a private one, and 
not addressed to me ; I therefore do not feel authorized to give any ex- 
tract from it. With respect to the communication made to you by Mr. 
Packenham, I cannot, of course, know how far it was looked upon as 
confidential by him, but I am led to suppose that, in saying what he did, 
he was actuated by the same feelings as myself, when I spoke to you on 
the same subject, namely, that any communication I made to you was 
certainly for the purpose of aiding each other in any steps we might be 
induced to take for the benefit of those unfortunate prisoners, but certain- 
ly not to be communicated to any one else, and especially not to them. I 
much fear that this knowledge they have obtained, as you observe, unau- 
thorized by you, may be the means of doing them farther injury. 

I am, &c, &c, &c, Percy W. Doyle. 

General Waddy Thompson. 

(No. 3.) 

Mexico, June 10th, 1843. 
My dear Sir, — I have received your note of yesterday, and regret that 
you should not feel yourself at liberty to give me the extract from the 
letter of Mr. Elliott to Mr. Packenham for which I asked. I should not 
have considered it necessary to say anything more on the subject but for 
the remark which you make as to the communications which were made 
to me having been regarded as confidential : if so, and I have spoken to 
any one of them. I have been in fault ; and as I do not so consider it, I 
feel it to be my duty to say, that neither by Mr. Packenham nor yourself 
was any intimation given to me that the communication was to be so re- 
garded, and I cannot see anything in the nature of the communication it- 
self which in any degree implied such confidence. I am at a loss to im- 
agine how it could have aided us, in the protection of the prisoners of 
Mier, to have known that they were brigands and not prisoners of war, 
and therefore not entitled to our protection. If such was the case, it 
was proper that it should be known ; if it was not, and there was some 
mistake about the matter, it was due to those unfortunate men, whose 
lives were in jeopardy, that this mistake should be corrected, and not less 
so to me, who had interfered in my official character, and said to the min- 
ister of foreign relations in strong, but altogether respectful language, that 


my government would expect that all the privileges of prisoners of war 
would be extended to them ; and although I made no communication on 
the subject to the prisoners, I rejoice to know that the fact of my having 
mentioned the subject to others, by whom it was communicated to them, 
has been the means of furnishing me with the most conclusive evidence 
that the expedition was authorized by the Texas government ; that the 
officers were appointed by that government, and express orders given to 
cross the Rio Grande ; and that, therefore, these men were entitled to all 
the rights of prisoners of war. But as you seem to regard the commu- 
nication made to me as of a confidential character, I shall make no state- 
ment on the subject for the present. It is in the power of President 
Houston or Captain Elliott to cause the letter of the latter to Mr. Pack- 
enham to be published, which I hope will be promptly done. If it should 
not be, or if, when published, it does not correspond with the communi- 
cation made to me of its contents, I shall feel bound to state what these 
communications were. I am, &c, &c, &c, 

(Signed), Waddy Thompson. 

Hon. Percy W. Doyle. 

(No. 4.) 

Mexico, June 11th, 1843. 
My dear General, — I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of 
your letter of yesterday's date. 

My object in making the observations I did in that letter was simply 
that you might be made aware of the light in which I wished the com- 
munications I made to you, or any other connected with the business of 
our respective missions, should be considered. I am, &c, &c, &c, 

(Signed), Percy W. Doyle. 

General Waddy Thompson. 

(No. 5.) 

Mexico, June 13th, 1843. 
To General T. J. Green : 

Sir, — I beg leave to present to you the enclosed copy of correspond- 
ence between Mr. Percy W. Doyle, the British charge d'affaires, and 
myself, upon the subject of your letter of the 29th of May. I trust you 
will be satisfied that, upon the footing on which Mr. Doyle has placed the 
matter, it would be improper for me to say more at present. 
Very respectfully, &c, &c, 

(Signed), Waddy Thompson. 

The following is an extract from another letter from General Thomp- 
son to General Green, also dated 13th June, 1843 : 


You can very distinctly see by my notes to Mr. Doyle what my state- 
ment will be. 

(No. 7.) 

Galveston, Nov. 6th, 1843. 
To his Excellency Charles Elliott, H. B. M. 
Charge d'Affaires for Texas. 
Sir, — Feeling a deep interest in the fate of my late fellow-prisoners, and 
that it is a duty I owe my country that the causes which led to the foul 
murder of a portion of them, under the order of President Santa Anna, 
should be known, and believing that their massacre was the result of the 
correspondence of President Houston with your excellency, which was 
forwarded by you to Mr. Packenham, I respectfully ask a copy of General 
Houston's letter to you, and of yours to Mr. Packenham. 

You will see from the enclosed copy of correspondence between Gen- 
eral Thompson and Mr. Doyle, that the contingency upon which I am au- 
thorized to make General Thompson's statement public is the failure to 
procure those letters. I am, very respectfully, your ob't serv't, 

(Signed), Thomas J. Green. 

(No. 8.) 

Galveston, Nov. 7th, 1843. 
Sir, — I have the honour to acknowledge your letter of the 6th instant, 
and, as a general rule, I must decline to furnish you with copies of any 
correspondence between other persons and myself. I have the honour to 
remain, sir, your obedient servant, 

(Signed), Charles Elliott. 

General Thomas J. Green. 

(No. 9.) 

Galveston, Nov. 8th, 1843. 
To his Excellency Charles Elliott, H. B. M. ) 
Charge d'Affaires for Texas. > 

Sir, — I have the honour to acknowledge your note of yesterday in an- 
swer to mine of the 6th instant, and can readily allow, as a "general rule,''' 
the propriety of your not furnishing copies of your correspondence ; but 
the correspondence I requested was of such an extraordinary character, 
I cannot believe it should come under such " general rule.'''' Your excel- 
lency, therefore, will allow me most respectfully to state more at length 
the reasons of that application. 

Upon the arrival of myself and companions at Tacubaya, near the city 
of Mexico, about the 15th of March last, we were several times informed 
by gentlemen who had it direct from General Thompson, the United 


States minister near that court, that you had, at the request of President 
Houston, written to H. B. M. minister, Mr. Packenham, to this purport, 
"that though the Mier prisoners had entered Mexico contrary to law and au- 
thority, yet he, Houston, begged mercy for them,''' &c. 

The high authority of President Houston, that the Mier prisoners were 
brigands, endorsed by the still higher authority of her Britannic majesty's 
charge d'affaires residing at their homes, gave the President of Mexico 
all the legal right he desired to shoot them. The whole history of our 
war shows that he could desire nothing more than such legal pretext to 
execute upon Texians the bloodiest vengeance. We had been prisoners 
of war from the 26th of December up to the middle of March, and under 
our articles of capitulation had been treated as such. Then comes, to 
say the least of it, your unfortunate letter, which took from us all protec- 
tion of that capitulation, which legalized our murders, and proved a death- 
warrant to the whole of my brave companions. Most fortunately for 
them, three days after the bloody order had gone into the hands of a sol- 
dier too just and too brave to execute it, the remonstrance of the foreign 
ministers got it countermanded ; but still, their influence could not pre- 
vent the execution of your countryman, the brave Cameron, and his sev- 
enteen companions. Justice to the memory of these brave spirits and. 
their destitute wives and children calls loudly upon me to place their mur- 
der where it rightly belongs. With this view, before leaving Perote, I 
wrote to the American minister near Mexico to procure me a copy of 
your letter from Mr. Doyle, H. B. M. minister, who succeeded Mr. Pack- 
enham, which correspondence I had the honour of enclosing to your ex- 
cellency yesterday. 

It is not my desire to criminate your excellency with a foreknowledge 
of the consequences of this unfortunate letter; of your humanity I have 
a more exalted opinion ; but when your excellency has been made the un- 
witting instrument of communication by which this melancholy, bloody, 
hellish tragedy has been perpetrated upon the best men of our country, 
justice, both to yourself and government, requires that the whole truth 
should be told, and the blame rest upon the head of him who projected it. 
Your excellency has been sufficiently unfortunate in being the innocent 
medium of this fell execution, and its cruel author, the least of all men, 
deserves screening at your hands by the suppression of the least portion 
of the truth ; and I have yet to learn how such suppression can promote 
the ends of justice. I must be allowed the opinion, that whatever rule of 
diplomacy governs your official station, you have no right to hold any- 
thing as private to myself or companions which affect our lives or liberty 
Very respectfully, your excellency's obedient servant, 

Thomas J. Green 



Having failed to procure a copy of the letter in question, either from 
Captain Elliott or President Houston, to whom I was referred by General 
Thompson, I applied to him for a statement of its contents, which the fol- 
lowing correspondence will explain, and which was soon after published 
in Texas. 

" To the Public. 

" Duty to our brave and unfortunate countrymen in the dungeons of 
Mexico caused me to lay before the public, some months since, the cor- 
respondence between the United States and English ministers in that 
country, relative to the letter which General Houston had written to 
Mexico, denouncing the Mier prisoners as brigands, and which caused 
their decimation and subsequent suffering. No honest man, even of the 
most blinded partisans of President Houston, who read that correspond- 
ence, doubted for a moment the statement of the facts therein set forth, 
though President Houston and his forces in Texas had for months pre- 
vious to that time denied most solemnly that he had ever written or 
caused to be written such a letter to Mexico. As soon as he found that 
I had returned from that country, armed with the proofs of his bloody 
murder of our countrymen, he, in his speech in the Presbyterian Church 
at Houston, in November, for the first time admitted the fa r -<. ..d said, 
'it ivas not, my friends, Captain Elliott's letter ivhich produced tn_. iii.o chief ';' 
but charges the murder upon General Hunt and the ' Telegraph,' for pub- 
lishing a letter of the former, on the 18th of January previous. 

" This subterfuge of President Houston in falsely quoting said letter, 
and so preposterous and unjust a supposition as that the publication of the 
letter of a private gentleman in a Texas newspaper could be sufficient 
with the Mexican government for such a shocking deed, did not satisfy the 
public mind. On the 12th of December, a few days thereafter, President 
Houston, in his annual message to Congress, changed his ground of de- 
fence, and said ' that it was a retaliation on account of those under Gen- 
eral Somerville, who robbed Laredo ;' thus charging this bloody deed to 
his particular friends of Washington and Montgomery counties, who return- 
ed under Colonel Bennett from that place. This last defence of the Presi- 
dent, more frivolous than the former, shows under what awkward ex- 
tremes guilt will seek shelter. 

" Perhaps it would have been unnecessary for me to have said more 
upon this subject, so well convinced was the public mind of President 
Houston's criminal and malicious agency in having my comrades shot, 
and others starved for the want of bread, had not some newspapers in 
his interest recently insulted public intelligence by speaking of ' his kind 
feelings for those men.' This most unblushing and barefaced insult, as well 
to the memories of those hundred and odd whose deaths he caused, as to 


the remaining half in chains and slavery, is my excuse, if one were ne- 
cessary, for again obtruding myself upon the public. 

" Though our last Congress placed to the credit of our prisoners in Mex- 
ico thirty thousand dollars, under the most positive and peremptory in- 
junctions upon President Houston 'forthwith'' to supply them, not one 
dollar has been sent them. When the President is asked why he has 
not sent the money to these men, he adds insult to their misfortunes by 
saying that they are better off than they would be at their homes. 

" No man of sane intellect, whatever may be his devotion, personal or 
political, to President Houston, after reading the annexed correspond- 
ence, can for a moment doubt that he was the malicious, vindictive, cold- 
blooded author of the execution. 

" Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"Thomas J. Green." 

New-Orleans, April 14th, 1844. 

Sir, — I have had the honour to receive your letter of the 8th of No- 
vember, in which you inform me that President Houston not only disa- 
vows having authorized Captain Elliott to write such a letter to the Hon. 
Richard Packenham, as it was reported that he had done, but that he also 
asserts that no communication to that effect had ever been made to me 
by Mr. Packenham or Mr. Doyle. If President Houston had confined 
himself to the disavowal of having authorized such a letter to have been 
written, I do not know that, upon mature reflection, I should have con- 
sidered it my duty to have made any statement upon the subject ; but as 
the matter now stands, I have no alternative left me. I therefore send 
you the accompanying statement, with a note from Benjamin E. Green, 
Esq., and another addressed by me to Mr. Doyle. I trust that nothing 
farther can be required of me in the matter. You, sir, very well know 
that my name has been involved in the affair by no officious interference 
in it, and it has been made public contrary to my advice and wishes. 
The fact of such a letter having been written came to my knowledge 
while endeavouring, under the express orders of my government (given 
in a similar case), to protect those brave and unfortunate men, the pris- 
oners of Mier. It was a matter of such a character that it was impossi- 
ble I could have been either indifferent or mistaken about it. I have fur- 
nished General Houston with a copy of this statement. I have the hon- 
our to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Waddy Thompson. 

General Thomas J. Green. 

Mexico, Dec. 20th, 1843. 
Shortly after I heard of the capture of the Texian prisoners at Mier, 


and having serious apprehensions that their rights as prisoners of war 
might be violated, I called upon the Hon. Richard Packenham to request 
that he would, if necessary, add his great and well-deserved influence 
with the Mexican government to mine, for the protection of those men. 
He expressed at once a willingness to do so, but said that, from what 
he had heard, he was afraid they were not strictly entitled to the rights 
of prisoners of war, because the expedition had not been authorized 
by the Texian government. I told him that I was very certain he was 
mistaken. In a subsequent interview with Mr. Packenham on the sub- 
ject, he told me that he had received a letter from Captain Elliott, H. B. 
M. charge d'affaires in Texas, saying that General Houston requested 
him (Mr. P.) to interpose his good offices in behalf of the Mier prisoners, 
although they might not, in strictness, be entitled to be regarded as pris- 
oners of war, as the expedition had not been authorized by the Texian 

Shortly after the arrival of Mr. Percy W. Doyle in Mexico, I had a 
conversation with him on the subject, in which he made the same state- 
ment as to the letter of Captain Elliott ; and in a subsequent conversation 
upon the subject, he added, that he thought it probable, in saying that 
the expedition was not authorized, that President Houston alluded not to 
the original expedition, but to the continuance of it after the return to 
Texas of General Somerville. Although I am very sure that in this I 
cannot be mistaken, yet if I am, it is very easy to prove it by the produc- 
tion of the letter, or a statement of Mr. Packenham. 

W. Thompson. 

Mexico, December 21st, 1843. 
General W. Thompson : 

Dear Sir, — In compliance with your request, I called yesterday upon 
the Honourable Percy W. Doyle with the statement which is copied 
above, and which you propose to send to General T. J. Green, upon the 
subject of Captain Elliott's letter to Mr. Packenham, relative to the Tex- 
ians taken prisoners at Mier. Mr. Doyle declined giving me a copy of 
Captain Elliott's letter, on the ground that it was a private letter, and not 
addressed to him; and after retiring to another room to compare your 
statement with that letter, he admitted that the statement was in every 
respect correct. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

(Signed), Ben. E. Green. 

The following protest from a committee of our countrymen, prisoners 
in the Castle of Perote, dated July, 1844, to the British minister near the 
government of Mexico, has immediate reference to the agency which 
President Houston had in the decimation of our men : 


" His Excellency Charles Bankhead : 

" Sir, — The undersigned, a committee of the prisoners now confined in 
the Castle of Perote, believing that we are abandoned by our own gov- 
ernment, have only the alternative left of appealing to the minister of her 
Britannic majesty at the court of Mexico to interfere with a view of put- 
ting a termination to our sufTering and imprisonment. The evidence upon 
which our opinion is based, that we are surrendered by our government, 
are, first, the letter to your predecessor by the Executive of Texas, de- 
nouncing the Mier expedition as a lawless band of adventurers, unsanc- 
tioned by the authorities of the country whence it came, and therefore 
unentitled to the consideration and protection which, by civilized usage 
and of right, belong to prisoners of war. Secondly, his withholding the 
means appropriated by Congress for our relief, when well apprized of our 
destitute and unfortunate situation. Thirdly, his entire neglect to make 
any exertion in our behalf, either by way of mitigating our hard fate or 
procuring our release. The only anxiety, within the knowledge of the 
undersigned, evinced by President Houston for the Texian prisoners, is 
to be found in the letter above referred to, which resulted in the melan- 
choly, tragic scene at the Ranch Salado, where were executed in cold 
blood seventeen as brave men as ever enlisted in the holy cause and un- 
der the sacred banner of liberty. Whether this solicitude was for our 
weal or wo, the probable tendency of its operation, and its actual lament- 
able consequences, will show, not only to the satisfaction of those who 
executed, but those who prompted the horrid act. From this it will ap- 
pear that this appeal properly emanates from the undersigned, and the se- 
quel will show that it is appropriately addressed to your excellency the 
British minister. 

" We believe, sir, that the government of Great Britain is under official 
obligation to demand our liberation. Under the auspices, and through the 
avowed agency of the charge d'affaires of your government to Texas, a 
treaty for the mutual exchange of prisoners was entered into and solemn- 
ly ratified by the contracting parties. Texas had confidence in this treaty 
from the fact that your government became incidentally a party to it — 
your charge d'affaires having originated it. 

" The undersigned do not rest their grounds for the interference of your 
excellency in their behalf upon the foregoing showing alone. They ap- 
peal to you, and the whole corps diplomatique, as conservators of inter- 
national law. Diplomatic agents, clothed with ministerial powers, are 
called ministers to the different courts to which they are sent, which 
term, conjoined to their official duties, implies the possession of judicial 

" If this position be true, you are bound to notice all infractions of the 


great law of nations, either in a state of peace or in the turmoils of war, 
It is your prerogative to control and regulate the operations of the latter 
state when not conducted according to the principles of humanity and the 
common mild usages of civilized nations. 

" In the undersigned and their unfortunate comrades you have a case 
which solicits the controlling influence of foreign ministers. The hu- 
mane maxims of international law, the acknowledged customs of civil- 
ized nations, have all alike been violated and disregarded in our cruel 
treatment and unjust detention. 

" When taken at Mier, under treaty stipulations guarantying to us safety 
and consideration, we were marched on foot, through sunshine and through 
storm, and a portion of the way handcuffed in couples, under the taunt - 
ings and lash of merciless Mexican soldiery. In the villages and towns 
through which we passed, instead of being treated with the kind courtesy 
usually extended by generous captors to vanquished enemies, we were 
received amid the hisses and maledictions of the infuriated rabble, with 
placards staring us in the face, commemorating the defeat of the Texian 
adventurers and robbers, as they termed us. 

" The bloody tragedies enacted on the road the undersigned refrain from 
recapitulating ; their minds shrink with horror from the recital. Lan- 
guage is inadequate to express the deep agony of the heart in the bare 
review of such inhuman acts. Such has been our treatment on the way 
to Mexico, and the same harshness still continues. 

" Only a few days since, one of our men, a Lieutenant Clopton, returned 
from the hospital in which he had been confined for five or six weeks 
from the wounds and bruises inflicted upon him by a large bludgeon in 
the hands of Captain Arroya, commandant of the castle. A few weeks 
ago, a pale and sickly boy was so severely beaten by the same weapon, 
in the hands of the same officer, as to be compelled to carry his arm in a 
sling for some time. In a word, we are miserably fed, badly clothed, and 
worked like beasts of burden. Our hard fate is rendered yet more intol- 
erable by the fact that neither of the contending parties appear to make 
any active demonstrations to bring the war to a close, but rather prefer 
becoming the clients of Great Britain, the United States, and France. 
The time necessary to render their mediation effective must necessarily 
be long ; and during this state of nominal peace we have suffered, and 
still continue to suffer, all the hardships of an actual state of warfare. 
" Very respectfully, Fenton M. Gibson,^ 

Claudius Buster, 
William S. Fisher, )> Committee,' 
William Ryan, 
Samuel C. Lyon, 


No. III. 

The following correspondence and orders are copied from " Silgo Diez 
Nueve," " The Nineteenth Century," the official organ of the Mexican 
government, of July 12th, 1843, ail of which proves conclusively that 
the propositions brought to Texas by Robinson from Santa Anna were 
accepted by Houston, as far as it was possible for him to do so ; that his 
(Houston's) commissioners were sent into Mexico to treat alone upon the 
basis of those propositions, and that the armistice which they did sign as 
the representatives of the " department of Texas'" farther shows that they 
did treat upon that basis, and that only ; and that these evidences were in 
the state department of Texas at the time that President Houston sent 
his disgraceful message to Congress on January 1st, 1844. 

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna to Jose Maria de Tornel, Minister of War and 


Manga de Clavo, Feb. 6th, 1843. 

Excellent Sir, — The Texian prisoner, Mr. William Robinson, has ad- 
dressed me the letter herewith transmitted, which you will please submit 
to his excellency the substitute President. In it he manifests a disposi- 
tion to contribute, through his influence in that department, that an ar- 
rangement may take place, explaining also the terms on which it may 
be obtained, and reasons why he may be of service in the prosecution of 
so interesting an object. Robinson, perhaps, will operate solely with a 
desire to obtain his liberty ; but if it should not be so, and he should act 
in good faith, nothing can be lost on hearing him, and some favourable 
result may be obtained, if, through the knowledge which he has of the 
present difficult and very compromised situation of the colonies, he should 
co-operate, bring them to reflect on their own true interests, and to ap- 
preciate the characteristic generosity of the Mexican nation. 

If his excellency, the substitute President, should think proper, I can 
hear Robinson, and determine from conversations with him, it being un- 
derstood that I will not make concessions which can affect the interests 
and sacred rights of the nation. 

As, in political affairs, opportunities occur which pass by rapidly, I be- 
lieve that the action in this matter should be rapid. Hoping that you will 
communicate with me without delay, and accept the protestations of my 
considerations, I subscribe myself, &c., &c., 

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. 


Castle of Perote, January 9th, 1843. 
General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna : 

Most excellent Sir, — In directing myself to your excellency in the best 
manner that is possible to me, I take the liberty of communicating to 
your excellency matters highly important for Mexico and Texas. I have 
resided many years in Texas as a colonist, and never have been wanting 
in obedience to the laws of the government of Mexico, whose goodness 
enabled me to enjoy fortune and prosperity ; but inevitable circumstances 
have suspended the progressive prosperity of the Texian people. In the 
month of March last, General Arista directed a proclamation (and I re- 
tain perfectly in my memory the terms in which it was couched) to the 
people of Texas, offering protection to the persons, and respect for the 
property of all those citizens who would not take up arms against Mexi- 
co. General Woll, upon his entry into Bexar in September last, gave a 
general order, that only those should be made prisoners who were found 
in arms against Mexico. I, although I believed it was a party for the 
purpose of pillage, did not make use of my arms, and laid them down as 
soon as I knew they were troops of your excellency — an error which has 
made me appear a rebel. I now desire, as I have already desired for 
many years, to show my decided adhesion to the government of Mexico, 
for which intention I can give unquestionable proof. I am a lawyer, and, 
as belongs to my profession, I know something of the political and civil 
organization of the governments of the earth, and especially of those of 
the United States and Texas ; and I find myself capable of giving to your 
excellency information that few can give. Upon my leaving Saltillo, and 
during my journey to this place, I conceived a plan, in conformity with 
ideas which had agitated my mind for some time ; but, most excellent sir. 
fruitless would it be for me to disclose in a letter all the details of a plan, 
giving clear explanations, and answering the objections which might pre- 
sent themselves, being better able to do it personally. Nevertheless, to 
take advantage of the opportunity which presents itself, I write to your ex- 
cellency, and permit me to say that seven and a half years of war have made 
the people of Texas eager for peace : they would quickly make any pru- 
dent sacrifice to reach an object so desirable, and the more so, if it were 
on such a basis as the reunion of Mexico and Texas. Among my com- 
panions in prison there are gentlemen who are of the same opinion as 
myself, who, if they had charge of a mission of this sort, would employ 
a powerful influence in Texas to obtain the grand object of her return to 
duty. The proclamation of General Arista of March last did not pro- 
duce the desired effect, although it caused many to remain neutral. If 
the citizens who rejoiced at its contents had openly done so, they would 
have lost their property, and would themselves have perished. But if 


there had been submitted to the deliberation of the Texian people a sim- 
ilar proposition, and with the same force to that which has been submit- 
ted to the people of Yucatan, much would have been done, because the 
people in general would have been carried to an open discussion of the 
matter without the fear of receiving any injury. By employing these 
means, the most advantageous ends may be expected. The citizens 
would have the liberty to reflect and reason with deliberation and calm- 
ness upon the matter, and this is what does not enter into the plan of 
General Arista. If there is not an armistice entered into, peace cannot be 
established. Great, very great would be the benefits which could be ac- 
quired by these means. Among the great advantages which would re- 
sult to Mexico, the following can be enumerated : 

1st. During the negotiations, a great part of the Texians would receive 
such an impression as would be in a manner favourable to the reunion. 
Many would remain neutral, thereby causing the reunion of Mexico and 
Texas to be comparatively an object of easy execution. 

2d. The liberty of the prisoners of Santa Fe, under word of honour, 
without the circumstance of hoping that the Texians would make pris- 
oners to exchange for them, was an act of generosity which made, upon 
the sober and tranquil characters of the citizens of Texas, an impression 
strong enough to predispose them for the reunion. 

3d. During the proposed discussion, the advantages they would receive 
in the sale of their cotton in the markets of Mexico would be manifested 
openly to the people of Texas — a money capital of near half a million of 
dollars annually, which will make them a specie fund which will take 
the place of paper money : without this, it is almost impossible to sustain 
their credit. 

4th. It will fix the attention on the evil state of public affairs ; and then 
will be considered the impossibility of Texas existing as an independent 
state without ruining the people with taxes which they cannot bear. 

5th. The evil management of affairs will also be manifest, and the 
people, already discontented with the administration of General Houston, 
will become alarmed, and will operate in a public movement such as, in 
my opinion, it would be difficult to resist. 

6th. The discussion would give time to the old colonists to compare 
their former peace and prosperity with the actual destination over their 
misery and broken state, and would augment the desires w r hich they have 
for a reunion. These are advantages which would be approved of by the 
people of Texas ; and in view of their taking effect, I would indicate to 
your excellency how appropriate it would be at the present time to name 
commissioners, and unite one Or two of the gentlemen who are with me, 
who, I before said, are of my opinion ; and permit me to recommend 



that the steps which are to be taken in the matter should be taken im 
mediately, for the purpose of counteracting whatever measures the Con- 
gress of Texas might take, which ought to meet the first Monday in this 
month ; for, according to news received here by means of periodicals, 
part of the members of the Congress of Texas ought to meet at Austin, 
and part at Washington, by which means they are divided, and this will be 
a good opportunity to operate. Furthermore, although the Constitution 
provides that the Congress cannot change the form of government, they 
can present to the people alterations. The presentation to the Texian 
people of the question of reunion in the form prescribed by the Constitu- 
tion is highly important as a political movement, although "Mexico does 
not or will not recognise the government of Texas." This being the 
manner prescribed, the great difficulty will be found conquered in the 
beginning of the affair. Pursuing such a course, the negotiations will be 
established, and then the people could operate without embarrassment 
and with efficiency. 

I take advantage of the present occasion to tender to your excellency 
my high considerations and respect. 

(Signed), J. W. Robinson. 

General Tornel's reply to General Santa Anna's note of the 6th inst • 

Mexico, Feb. 11th, 1843. 

Excellent Sir, — I gave to his excellency the substitute President im- 
mediate notice of your respected letter of the 6th instant, in which you 
were pleased to make known the affair of the Texian prisoner, Wra. 
Robinson, whose original letter accompanied it, and being informed of 
all, he advises me to request you to act with all the necessary powers to 
hear him and grant that which is proper ; or to hear only, and transmit 
the result to the supreme government, in case you consider it necessary. 
Satisfied that your excellency will proceed in arrangements with the 
Texian prisoners with your customary caution and prudence, always pre- 
serving the rights and interests of the nation of which you are so glorious 
a defender, the government abstains from giving directions of any kind, 
resting, as it should, in the just opinion that your excellency should di- 
rect this matter according to your own judgment. 

In the hope that you will bring it to a full termination, useful and hon- 
ourable to the Republic, please accept my expressions of high considera- 
tion, &c, &c, Jose Maria de Tornel. 

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna to Jose Maria de Tornel. 

Manga de Clavo, Feb. 18th, 1843. 
Excellent Sir,— In accordance with the authority communicated to me 


by order of his excellency the substitute President, to call the Texian 
prisoner, Wm. Robinson, and hear him concerning the terms in which it 
was considered that the reincorporation of that department with the Re- 
public might be obtained, and the propositions which he makes to secure 
so desired an object, I directed him to come from the fortress of Perote 
to this hacienda ; and after long conferences, in which he perfectly con- 
vinced me that he was not wanting in influence or means to produce the 
conviction in Texas of the importance to the colonists of again embracing 
the protection of our laws, I have accepted and signed the propositions, 
a copy of which I herewith enclose to your excellency, and have set Mr. 
Robinson immediately at liberty, that he may, without loss of time, pro- 
ceed to the fulfilment of his offices. The care and prudence which I 
have taken to avoid a single expression which can in any manner com- 
promise the rights of the nation, so dear to all Mexicans, so sacred to me 
in my natural sentiments, because it has made me its keeper, will not 
escape the penetration of your excellency. And I simply announce that 
certain concessions can be granted that the right of sovereignty shall re- 
main undisturbed, of which the present situation of Texas forms a ne- 
cessity and guarantee that the colonists should not fail to demand as the 
foundation of their future tranquillity and welfare. As the whole subject 
is submitted to negotiations, in which the government should act with 
due caution, nothing should be hazarded to plant the seeds of reconcilia- 
tion among the people of a department whose dispositions have been en- 
tirely alienated. In any event, entire justice shall be dispensed to the 
dictates of humanity and prudence, provided it be in accordance with rea- 
son, even though accompanied by the horrors of war. 

Please present my expressions of esteem to his excellency the substi- 
tute President, and accept the assurance of my particular regards. 
I have the honour to be, &c, &c, &c, 

Antonia Lopez de Santa Anna. 

The next in order is the following copy of the articles signed by Santa 
Anna, and despatched through Judge Robinson to this government, and 
which, it appears from the subsequent action of this government, was ac- 
cepted by President Houston. i 

Manga de Clavo, Feb. 18th, 1843. 
The undersigned, authorized by the supreme government of the Repub- 
lic to confer with James W. Robinson, the Texian prisoner in the fortress 
of Perote, and take into consideration his communication, under injunc- 
tion of secrecy, on matter of great importance both to Mexico and Texas, 
in which various propositions are made to bring to a conclusion the pro- 


longed war between these parties, having heard all that was to be offer- 
ed upon the subject, and considered deliberately each proposition, has 
agreed with said Robinson on certain bases directed to this object, and 
for the prosecution of which has appointed said Robinson, by virtue of the 
facilities with which he is invested, to proceed in accordance therewith, and 
to use those efforts which in his judgment should be most convenient and 
conducive to the end proposed. In virtue whereof, and in accordance 
with said bases, Mr. Robinson, 

1st. Will explain to the inhabitants of Texas that the supreme govern- 
ment desires the termination of the war with that territory, not because 
it feels itself without means or resources to continue it until it obtains a 
complete triumph, but through motives of humanity and the interests of 
the colonists. 

2d. That thus far the government offers to throw a veil over the past, 
granting amnesty to all whom it may affect. 

3d. That as the bare interests of the inhabitants are founded on peace, 
tranquillity, and good order, and the security of person and property 
— benefits which they cannot enjoy in the continually agitated condition 
which is the natural consequences of war — the supreme government offers 
to guaranty these benefits in their full enjoyment. 

4th. That the inhabitants of Texas shall lay down their arms, and rec- 
ognise as an essential and unalterable condition the right of property of 
Mexico in this its territory, the sovereignty of the nation, its laws, rules, 
and general orders. 

5th. That whereas this is the fundamental basis of all others, no other 
can be effectual unless this be admitted by Texas in its most unlimited 
extent, and without the slightest modification. 

6th. That this part being admitted in the manner aforesaid, Texas may 
appoint its own functionaries and authorities, military and political, in ac- 
cordance with the general Constitution of the Republic. 

7th. That Mexican troops shall not be sent to Texas, the said depart- 
ment taking care to provide for its own security on the frontiers, cover- 
ing them with its own forces, composed of citizens resident within it. 

8th. That in regard to the legislative power, the respective departmental 
Junta shall have power, in virtue of its attribute, to propose to the general 
Congress for approval or decree such laws as may be considered proper 
for the good government of Texas. 

9th. And, finally, that Texas shall conform in all other matters to such 
regulations as may be established for the other departments of the Re- 

These bases being understood, and Mr. Robinson having engaged to ful- 
fil his commission in accordance with all, and with the utmost efficacy 


and zeal, it is understood that the supreme government will receive with 
satisfaction the notice of a favourable result of his laudable efforts, or 
any commission which may be directed to the capital, where I shall go 
within a few days to resume the reins of government. I authorize for 
this purpose, and grant to the said Robinson his liberty, and permission 
to leave the Republic at his pleasure, congratulating myself on the op- 
portunity which permits me to be the means of establishing this agree- 
ment, from the precise fulfilment of which, if its results prove favoura- 
ble, we may hope the complete pacification of Texas, and its reincorpo- 
ration in the Mexican Republic, of which it is an integral part. 

In confirmation of which, I grant this document to said Robinson at 
my hacienda of Manga de Clavo, on the 18th of February, 1843. 

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. 

Next follows a letter of some length, from Jose Maria de Tornel to Santa 
Anna, of which we copy only the first paragraph, that being all that is 
of any interest to our readers : 

Mexico, February 23d, 1843. 

Most excellent Sir, — On receipt of your respected communication of 
the 18th instant, I submitted it to his excellency, the substitute President, 
and not only is he informed of, but also well satisfied with the prudence and 
extraordinary integrity with which your excellency has availed yourself 
of the disposition manifested by the Texian prisoner, Mr. Robinson, to 
contribute, by his personal influence, to a settlement of the affairs of 
Texas ; and his excellency believes that the propositions drawn up and 
subscribed by your excellency will protect the national rights and the 
general principles of our political organization, without the hazard of any 
concession which the colonists may demand as a guaranty of their future fate. 

Office of Foreign Relations and Government, > 
Mexico, July 7th, 1843. S 

Most excellent Sir, — Mr. Percy W. Doyle, her Britannic majesty's 
charge d'affaires, has addressed to me a communication, a copy of which I 
transmit to your excellency, in which he explains what has been done in 
pursuance of the propositions of which Mr. Robinson was the bearer, for 
the purpose of bringing to a conclusion the evils of the war between 
Mexico and Texas. Copy No. 2 is the copy of the proclamation of Hous- 
ton on the armistice which Mr. Doyle has transmitted to me, and No. 3 
is to advise your excellency of my reply to that gentleman, in accordance 
with the supreme order of his excellency the substitute President, and also 
in accordance with the communications which I have received on the 
subject from the office. God and liberty ! Bocanegra. 


(No. 1.) 

Percy W. Doyle to the Minister of Foreign Relations and Government. 

Mexico, July 6th, 1843. 

Having known for some time that, by means of Robinson, one of the 
Texian prisoners set at liberty, proposals have been addressed to the gov- 
ernment of Texas, which I have received, and which might result in the 
establishment of peace, I advised his excellency the President of this cir- 
cumstance, and he replied to me that he was disposed to receive Texian 
commissioners who might be sent to treat on the proposed conditions, ac- 
ceding, farther, to the propositions which I made him, that a declaration 
of armistice should be made, in order to carry on the negotiations. In 
consequence, Unformed the charge d'affaires of her majesty in Texas of 
what had occurred without loss of time, and in consequence of the com- 
munication between that gentleman and the government of Texas, Pres- 
ident Houston has published a decree, of which I have the honour to en- 
close a copy, in which he directs that hostilities shall cease forthwith on 
the frontier of Texas. I have the honour to advise your excellency that 
it may be brought to the notice of his excellency, that he may communi- 
cate to me the measures which the said decree, a copy of which is en- 
closed, may suggest, in order that I may inform the charge d'affaires of 
her majesty in Texas for the information of her government. 

I have the honour to be, with the highest consideration, your most 
obedient humble servant, Percy W. Doyle. 

Next follows (No. 2) Houston's proclamation, the publication of which 
we consider quite unnecessary here. 

No. 3 is a letter of J. M. de Bocanegra to Percy W. Doyle : 

National Palace, Mexico, July 7th, 1843. 
Dear Sir, — By your letter, under date of yesterday, I am informed of what 
has taken place in consequence of the proposals of which the lawyer Robinson, 
one of the Texian prisoners, was the bearer, to terminate the war which 
Mexico has sustained with the just purpose of preserving her territory 
entire. I have also received a copy of the provision (proclamation) dic- 
tated on the armistice, which result has been obtained by the measures 
taken by you through the gentleman charged with the affairs of her Bri- 
tannic majesty near said Mr. Houston. I have brought this to the notice 
of his excellency the provisional President, and he has advised me forth- 
with to render you his thanks, as I have the honour to do, for the part 
you have taken in a matter of so great importance, and of which Mexico 
has not lost sight. The good offices and actions which you have been 
pleased to interpose in the matter merit a special mention and corre- 


sponding gratitude ; therefore, his excellency the President, instigated by 
the best motives, has directed that the necessary orders shall issue from 
the office of war for the suspension of hostilities between Mexico and 
Texas, as is expressed in the annexed copies which I have the honour 
to transmit you, and the fulfilment of which will be exact and rigorous. 
With this beginning, his excellency the President will see with satis- 
faction that you should make known to Mr. Houston, through said agent 
of her Britannic majesty in Texas, that commissioners may come with 
competent instructions, based upon the propositions which Robinson took, 
w T ith the understanding that their journey to Mexico maybe made by sea 
or land, and that they will be received and treated like those from Yuca- 
tan, as his excellency is animated with the best and purest intentions to- 
wards both departments. 

In manifesting to you the manner in which your notice has been re- 
ceived, and the measures which, in consequence, have been taken so 
conformable to his designs, I have the honour to repeat my considerations 
as your most affectionate and obedient servant. S. M. B. 


The following is a copy of the instructions despatched, to General Woll 
by Tornel, minister of war and marine, on the reception of General Hous- 
ton's proclamation of armistice ; or, in other words, it is the proclama- 
tion of armistice on the part of Mexico : 

Mexico, July 7th, 1843. 
To General Adrian Woll, Commander-in-chief i 
of the Army of the North. > 

Excellent Sir, — By the accompanying documents you will be fully in- 
formed that Mr. Samuel Houston has proclaimed an armistice in the de- 
partment of Texas, in consequence of the admission of the propositions 
which the lawyer, Mr. Robinson, made, that they might be made the basis 
for a discussion, the result of which should be an agreement whereby 
the rights of the Republic and its interests should be combined with those 
of Texas. And as the operations of government should always be accom- 
panied by a consequent and unchangeable good faith, it has resolved, in the 
name of the nation, upon the propositions of armistice, and that it be 
confirmed by both parties according to the laws of war. 

In consequence, his excellency the provisional President directs me 
to advise you that hostilities with Texas are suspended for a time at all 
parts on the line of your command, retiring your advanced posts, spies, 
parties of observation, and all forces destined to molest the enemy, sus- 
pending during the armistice your march to the centre of Texas with a 


strong division of cavalry, yourself being personally in command, ac- 
cording to your orders of the 2d and 28th of June, and those of the 5th 
instant, forwarded by your aid-de-camp Jose Washington Eayrs. Not- 
withstanding, you will not fail to employ the $180,000, which I have re- 
mitted to you in two parts, in the regulation, enlistment, and equipment 
of the said division of forces under your command, nor the other means 
placed at your disposition ; because, while the negotiation may not reach 
a definite conclusion, we should prepare in peace for war, as the sacred 
interests of the Republic demand. 

That the armistice may be proclaimed according to the terms pre- 
scribed by the usages and practice of war, you will officially advise 
Mr. Samuel Houston to nominate commissioners, who, in conjunction 
with those appointed by you, will be subject to the following regula- 
tions : 

1st. The armistice shall be submitted to the supreme government, 
but hostilities shall be immediately suspended. 

2d. It shall be stipulated in the armistice that the so called govern- 
ment of Texas shall send commissioners to the capital of the Repub- 
lic, who shall make to the supreme government those propositions which 
they shall consider correct, on the basis of the propositions which the lawyer 
Robinson conveyed, and which will be matter of discussion. 

3d. The armistice shall continue during the time necessary for the 
purpose ; but a prudent time shall be agreed upon for the renewal of hos- 
tilities, when either of the parties shall so determine, giving previous no- 
tice, as is customary in like cases. 

4th. The commissioners shall enjoy the same securities granted to 
those sent from the department of Yucatan, and, on their arrival, stay, 
and return, shall be protected by the Mexican laws and authorities. 

His excellency the provisional President has full confidence in your 
circumspection in the exercise of the powers conferred upon you — a gen- 
eral so deserving of gratitude for leading the arms of the Republic to the 
acquisition of new glories on the field of Texas. 

I present to your excellency my sentiments of the highest considera- 
tion and esteem, &c. Jose Maria de Tornel. 

Following the above is the armistice agreed upon by the Texian com- 
missioners, acknowledging Texas as a " department of Mexico,'' 1 which it 
is unnecessary to insert here. 

The following is the manifesto from General Adrian Woll, of the Mex- 
ican army, to President Houston, informing him of the recommencement 
of hostilities against the usurpers of Texas for a non-compliance with the 
armistice entered into by their commissioners : 


First Brigade of the North, Headquarters. 

The delay fixed by the supreme government in the armistice conclu- 
ded the 15th of February of the present year with the commissioners 
having expired, his excellency the President has called to mind that, 
from the 11th of the present month, hostilities are reopened against the 
inhabitants of this department, and I communicate to you the declaration 
of his excellency. I also make known to you that my government has 
seen, with well-founded indignation, the perfidies of the inhabitants of 
the said territory towards a republic whose generous conduct to them 
they misunderstood in relation to a question in which they were thought 
to be acting in good faith. They have abused the confidence of the Repub- 
lic by violating the conditions of the armistice respecting the commission- 
ers, who, according to the fourth article of said armistice, should have 
repaired to the city of Mexico, in order to regulate our differences so far 
as their propositions might be admissible. His excellency the President, 
convinced that the honour and dignity of the nation require the chas- 
tisement of a conduct so little creditable, has ordered me to apprize you 
of his resolution, so that it may be well understood that it is not through 
timidity or want of power, but because his excellency has always listen- 
ed to the voice of humanity, that hostilities were not commenced at the 
period fixed by the armistice. 

Notwithstanding my regret in thinking that blood is once more to flow, 
yet in transmitting to you the declaration of the President, I enjoy the 
satisfaction to find that justice is on the side of our cause, which reposes 
on sacred and imprescriptible rights. In this we place our confidence, as 
well as in the valour of our troops. When the struggle shall once more 
begin, the civilized world will judge between us, and the fortune of war 
cannot but be favourable to those who fight for their country against 

I have the honour to renew to you assurances of my high consider- 

Headquarters, Mier, 19th June, 1841 

Adrian Woll. 
To Gen. Sam. Houston. 



No. IV. 


When I was taken prisoner (at the Battle of Mier), I was immedi- 
ately conveyed to General Ampudia, the commander-in-chief of the Mex- 
ican army then there, who, after interrogating me, through the medium of 
an interpreter, respecting the numbers of theTexian force, and the name 
of their commanding officer, ordered that I should bear a flag to Colonel 
Fisher, demanding an immediate surrender. Perceiving that I gave no 
reply, and evinced no disposition to obey such an order, he said that it 
was useless for me to refuse, as I should be compelled to do it. He seiz- 
ed me by the shoulder, while Colonel Carasco laid hold upon the other, and 
forced me to the corner of a street leading in the direction of our troops, 
dictating at the time the following message to me, to be delivered to the 
Texian commander, viz. : " Say to Colonel Fisher that he must surrender 
with his whole force in five minutes, or I will cause them all to be put to 
the sword, and give no quarter — to accomplish this, I have 1700 regular 
troops, and look every moment for a re-enforcement of 800 — and that, if 
he will cause his troops to lay down their arms, and surrender in that 
time, their lives shall be spared, and they shall be treated with all the hu- 
manity and deference due them as prisoners of war ; and, furthermore, I 
will exercise my influence with the supreme government to prevent their 
being marched to the city of Mexico, but to have them retained east of the 
mountains until they are released or exchanged." 

Accompanied by a Mexican soldier, as I entered our lines I discov- 
ered Colonel Fisher, who, when he perceived me, advanced a short dis- 
tance to a low stone wall. When we met, I informed him that I had 
been compelled to bear a flag with a verbal message to him, and while 
relating the purport of it, the incessant discharge of musketry prevented 
him from hearing : motioning for me to remain silent, he gave orders for 
the firing to cease. So soon as it had discontinued, he turned to me and 
inquired, " What does this flag mean?' I then repeated what has been 
stated above. After concluding, I watched closely and eagerly for a re- 
ply. Without saying a word, he cast his eyes upon the ground as if un- 
determined, and endeavouring to decide upon what course he should pur- 
sue. Meditating in this position for a brief period, he at length came to 
some conclusion, when he leaped the wall and advanced to the position 
occupied by Cameron and Ryan's companies particularly, without taking 
any farther notice of me, either by word or sign. I instantly followed to 


await his instructions. He called together a council of his officers, at 
which time the Mexican officers took the opportunity to venture within 
our lines. What occurred from this time you had an opportunity of be- 
coming as well acquainted with as myself. 

The preceding, sir, is a brief statement of facts, as they transpired 
between the colonel and myself. I do not wish to increase the length 
of this paper so as to become wearisome to the reader, yet I can- 
not conclude without mentioning some circumstances relative to this mat- 
ter that, I trust, will enable the reader to arrive at a just and impartial 
opinion. I presume it is well known that during an action, when an or- 
der is given by an officer to his inferiors in rank, and the obedience of 
which is necessary in securing the safety and success of a body of men, 
that a disobedience most frequently is considered as a direct violation of 
the regulations of the military code, and renders the offender liable to the 
severest punishment that can be inflicted upon him, instantaneously, and 
that without the convening of a military court. Had I voluntarily diso- 
beyed any order that Colonel Fisher states he gave me, why did he not 
enforce upon me the penalty as the results of its violation ! He held a 
pistol in his hand at the time, and would have been held justifiable in 
making immediate use of it upon me. 

Again : Does it not appear improbable that he should have commanded 
me to return with the flag without having any knowledge of the object 
for which it was sent, as he could know nothing of its errand excepting 
from conjecture 1 He had as much right to suppose, as otherwise, that the 
enemy wished to enter into some terms with him for their own safety, as 
well as that of their wounded, and the town with its inhabitants ; for he 
is well aware that a commander will always, whenever within his power, 
after he is defeated, make the best stipulations he can with his victor. 

You will recollect I had an interview with the colonel in the morning 
of Friday, the 30th December, a short time previous to our men being 
marched off to Matamoras. In the conversation I then held with him, 
he never intimated, in the slightest degree, that he had given me such an 
order, but, on the contrary, when the subject of my bearing the flag was 
introduced, he assured me that himself nor any other person had or could 
attach any censure to me for the course I was compelled to pursue. 
Moreover, I do most positively assert, that during my imprisonment I 
had frequent conversations with the men, as well as the officers, in rela- 
tion to our capitulation, and not one of them ever mentioned to me of 
having heard of such an order being given, or ever passed a word of con- 
demnation upon me for my conduct during any period of that engage- 

Having already extended this communication to a much greater length 



than I intended, I shall add nothing more than a sincere desire that your 
publication may have an extensive circulation, and that it may be written 
both justly and impartially. 

Most respectfully yours, John J. Sinnickson. 

To General Thomas J. Green. 

No. V. 

The following is a List of the Mier Prisoners who were released on the \§th 
of September, 1844, by the Mexican Government, and who arrived in New- 
Orleans per Schooner Creole, Captain Dessechi, which sailed on the 22d of 
September : passage, thirteen days from Vera Cruz. Several Mier Prison- 
ers remained in Mexico, and others took a different route home. 

Ackerman, P. A. 
Alexander, M. 
Allen, David. 
Armstrong, A. 
Arthur, Francis. 
Baker, J. R., Captain. 
Barney, Daniel F. 
Bassett, R. P. 
Beasley, D. H. E. 
Bell, T. W. 
Berry, Bate J. 
Bowman, B. F. 
Boon, B. Z. 
Brennan, John. 
Bridger, H. 
Brown, Richard. 
Brush, G. R. 
Bush, G. W. 
Buster, C, Captain. 
Calvert, John. 
Censibeau, T. J. 
Clark, Willis G. 
Clopton, W., Lieutenant. 
Copeland, W. 
Davis, Thomas. 
Davis, William. 
Davis, W. K. 
Dillon, J. F. 

Douglas, Freeman W., Lieutenant. 

Downes, N. G. 

Dunbar, William. 

Edwards, Leonidas D. F. 

Fisher, William S., Colonel. 

Frensley, William H. 

Gibson, F. M., Quartermaster. 

Gibson, William. 

Glascock, James A. 

Goodman, S. 

Grubs, F. 

Hanna, A. B. 

Harvey, John. 

Harrison, F. W. T. 

Heddenburg, Abraham D. 

Hensley, C. 

Hoffer, John. 

Humphries, J. J. 

Jackson, Edward B. 

Journie, H. 

Kaigler, William. 

Kelly, Charles S. 

King, R. B. 

Lacy, John. 

Lewis, A. J. 

Lee, A. A., Lieutenant 

Livergood, J. H. 

Lord, George. 



Lovergy, J. 

Lyon, S. C, Sailingmaster. 

Matthews, Alexander. 

Maxwell, P. M. 

Middleton, William B. 

Miller, Henry. 

Millon, W. E. 

Mills, John. 

Mills, Lawson. 

Morrell, H. B. 

M'Cutcheon, J. D. 

M'Fall, Samuel. 

M'Ginly, John. 

M'Mullen, John. 

Nealy, James B. 

Nelson, Thomas. 

Oats, H. H. 

Overton, D. 

Peacock, James. 

Phillips, James. 

Pierson, J. G. W., Captain. 

Pilley, Robert M. 

Pitts, E. H. 

Riley, F. 

Roberts, H. H. 

Rogers, Mark. 

Roark, A. J. 

Runyan, William J. 

Sargeant, W. 

Sansberry, John. 

Sellers, Harvey W. 

Smith, J. 

Sullivan, Daniel C. 

Tanney, John 

Thompson, Thomas A. 

Thurmond, Alfred S. 

Toops, John. 

Trehern, George Washington. 

Turner, R. W. 

Vandyke, Wilson M. 

Van Vechten, D. H. 

Watkins, Joseph D. 

White, F. 

Whitehurst, F. 

Williams, Levi. 

Willoughby, R. 

Woodland, H. 

Young, James. 

Zumatt, Isaac. 

The following Five were Released a few Weeks previous to the above. 
Armstrong, James C, 

Ryan, William, Captain. 
Tatum, Thomas, 
Wallace, William A., 
Wilson, William F., 

Liberated by Petition from many Members of 
the United States Congress. 

No. VI. 

Though the Eighth Congress of the Republic of Texas, in December, 
1843, voted an appropriation of fifteen thousand dollars to our countrymen 
in the Mexican prisons ; and again, in February, 1844, fifteen thousand dol- 
lars in addition to the first appropriation (see Journals of the House of 
Representatives, Eighth Congress, page 450), yet, eight months thereafter, 
when public opinion in Texas forced him (President Houston) to pay some 


little regard to these most peremptory laws of the land, he condescended 
to place to their use two thousand dollars, two hundred of which was, by 
special provision of the law, paid over to our unfortunate countryman, An- 
tonio Navarro. This was done by sending a special agent with the pal- 
try sum, whose pay and expenses must have come to fifty per cent, of the 
amount which our one hundred and twenty surviving countrymen receiv- 
ed, when a bank deposite in New-Orleans, against which they could have 
drawn, would have been worth from six to eight per cent, premium. It 
will be recollected, that when this insulting show of regard for our prison- 
ers was made by President Houston, both himself and newspapers in 
Texas were boasting of " the par circulation," "surplus in the treasury," 
" great receipts in the custom-house," &c, &c. 

What we have said, and the abundant proof heretofore furnished, can- 
not fail to satisfy every impartial reader that President Houston's first 
object was to have the whole of the Mier men shot in Mexico, when he 
wrote to that government, through the British minister, that " they had 
entered that country without authority," and consequently were " rob- 
bers and marauders ;" and failing in this, to have any but the brave Cap- 
tain Cameron and each tenth man shot, his second plan was to starve 
the remainder to death in Mexican dungeons. This he wellnigh effect- 
ed by a usurpation of the laws of the land which voted them bread, and 
which the remnant of their muster-roll will show. 

He who deals in falsehood is ever in danger of self-conviction, and such 
has been President Houston's misfortune. From the Battle of Mier up to 
the fall of 1843, both the President and his partisans in Texas were busy 
in denying that he ever wrote such a letter to the British minister as was 
charged and proven upon him, and that the Mier commander had had his 
orders to invade Mexico. But on the 27th of January, 1844, when that 
excitement had measurably subsided, and to subserve his vindictiveness 
towards a gallant soldier, Colonel William G. Cooke, he forgets his for- 
mer denials, and in his veto message of this date (see Journals of House 
of Representatives, Eighth Congress, page 375) he writes as follows : 

Executive Department, Washington, Jan. 27th, 1844. 
To the Honourable the House of Representatives : 

The Executive regrets to find himself under the necessity of withhold- 
ing his assent from the bill for the relief of William G. Cooke, late acting 
quartermaster general. The reasons which impel him to do so are, as 
he conceives, of the most forcible character. 

In the first place, the government never promised those who should 
participate in the late campaign to the Rio Grande anything more than 
authority to march, such ammunition and arms as could be furnished, and 


the spoils acquired from the enemy, according to the laws of civilized war- 
fare. This fact is shown by the accompanying note from the secretary of 
war and marine, which is intended to form a part of this message, and 
the published declarations of the Executive himself. In an address to the 
people of Texas, dated July, 1842, and published in the newspapers of the 
day, the Executive remarked, in reference to the contemplated expedition, 
that " the government will promise nothing but authority to march, and 
such supplies of ammunition as may be needful for the campaign. They 
must look to the Valley of the Rio Grande for remuneration. The govern- 
ment will claim no portion of the spoils : they will be divided among the 
victors. The flag of Texas will accompany the expedition." 

From this it will be perceived that the government was guarded against 
incurring any pecuniary responsibilities on account of the campaign. For 
this reason, they were authorized to cross the Rio Grande, "and make 
such reprisals upon Mexico as civilized and honourable warfare would 
justify in the relations then existing with the common enemy." The Ex- 
ecutive knew full well at that period, as he does now, that the means of 
the country could not sustain the expense of the expedition, and hence he 
based his call to the citizen soldiers of the Republic upon what he believ- 
ed to be their patriotic desire and readiness to engage in the undertaking ; 
and because he knew the inability of the country to pay them for their ser- 
vices, he plainly told them they must look " for remuneration to the Valley 
of the Rio Grande." 

.... It is just that all should be regarded on the same footing, and the 
claims of no one preferred to those of all the rest. The widows and or- 
phans of the brave and unfortunate decimated have not petitioned Con- 
gress for pay or relief, &c. Sam. Houston. 

Thus, in one short year, in subserving this vindictive hatred of one indi- 
vidual, he furnishes the world from under his own hand the evidences of 
his guilt ; and, notwithstanding the many falsehoods which he asserted, 
and some of his partisans reiterated about his desire to serve our suffer- 
ing fellow-citizens in the Mexican prisons, we absolutely see them re- 
leased, without any influence or agency of his, at a distance of more than 
a thousand miles from their homes, with one dollar each, which the 
charity of the " magnanimous nation" gave them to bear their expenses. 
"We see them turned loose upon the levee of New-Orleans in the greatest 
possible destitution, covered with filth and rags, and sustained by the char- 
ity of the good people of that city ; and thus we see them begging their 
way back to Texas, with one proud feeling still uppermost in their bo- 
soms — to die for the honour and liberty of that country whose executive 
chief had slandered them all — had murdered some — had starved by piece- 


meal many, and basely insulted the remainder when in chains ! What a 
moral reflection this for Mexico, and how hopeless, should it prove, is her 
vain hope of reconquering such a people ! 

In the face of the foregoing facts, President Houston has had the 
shameless hardihood, in his last annual message to the Ninth Congress, 
dated December 4th, 1844, to say, that " the laws of the last Congress 
touching our prisoners in Mexico were carried out as fully and as speed- 
ily as circumstances would permit." 

No. VII. 

November 29th, 1844. 
General Thomas J. Green : 

Dear Sir, — I have perused, with infinite pleasure, your manuscript de- 
tailing the Battle of Mier, the captivity, imprisonment, and sufferings of 
yourself and fellow-prisoners in the loathsome Castle of Perote, together 
with your adventurous and successful escape from that almost impregna- 
ble fortress. 

The spirit-stirring incidents, from the commencement to the end of 
your journal, cannot fail to excite a lively interest in the breast of every 

With myself, and your numerous friends in this country, your details 
have peculiar interest, from our knowledge of the fidelity with which they 
are given. Independent of my knowledge of the frankness of your char- 
acter, an intimate acquaintance with many of your fellow-prisoners, with 
whom I have had frequent conversations, enables me to judge the cor- 
rectness of your narrative. Permit me, therefore, to solicit the publica- 
tion of your journal as soon as practicable, inasmuch as it is immediately 
connected with our Revolution, and forms one of the important events 
attending its progress. 

Most respectfully, your friend and obedient servant, 

B. T. Archer. 

Oakland, January 4th, 1845. 
General Thomas J. Green : 

Dear Sir, — Our mutual friend, Dr. Archer, informs me that you have 
prepared a minute account of the Battle of Mier, and of the incidents, an- 
terior and subsequent, connected with that brilliant though calamitous 

There are but few instances in which the great superiority of Texian 
arms over those of our boastful enemies have been more fully illustrated 


than in that conflict, which has elicited so little of the public sympathy, 
and attracted so small a share of admiration. It is no new idea that suc- 
cess is necessary to applause. The fame of the brief and almost unre- 
sisted onslaught of San Jacinto, of eighteen minutes' continuance, has 
resounded throughout the world, and in the imaginations of the uninform- 
ed, has wreathed the brow of the nominal commander, who was literally 
compelled into the chase, with the garland of heroism, while the protract- 
ed and bloody battle of Mier has scarcely been perpetuated by newspaper 
advertisement. There is, however, consolation in the thought that, al- 
though one's contemporaries may fail to do justice to his public acts, and 
may confer unmerited plaudits upon the recreant and unworthy, a better- 
informed and more dispassionate posterity will render honour to whom 
honour is due. 

Among the seventeen decimated victims of your late companions in 
suffering was a brother of Mrs. B.'s, and it is natural that we should feel 
a more than common interest in the events you have related. In all my 
reflections upon that most atrocious act of an atrocious tyrant, to save 
whose life, during the great excitement at Velasco in 1836, my own was 
imminently jeoparded, I have not been able to divest my mind of a suspi- 
cion that General Houston is and will be held, by a heart-searching God, 
morally guilty of that most abominable massacre. His gratuitous, uncall- 
ed for, and extraordinary communication to Santa Anna, through the 
agency of the British minister, officially denounced you and your com- 
panions in arms as without the pale of nationality, and, consequently, as 
outlawed brigands, and liable to be dealt with as such. There certainly 
was no political necessity for that pragmatic, and, if not designed for some 
wicked purpose connected with the destiny of you unfortunate prisoners, 
most silly and useless communication. It is well known that by far the 
major part of Colonel Fisher's command were the political opponents of 
the wily demagogue, and that some of them were the objects of his spe- 
cial personal enmity ; and those who know General Houston as well as 
you and I do, know that he never forgave an enemy or sustained a pro- 
fessed friendship beyond his own interest or convenience. His utter des- 
titution of moral principle, and, signally, his habitual and entire disregard 
of the truth, render it no breach of charity to suspect him, on slighter ev- 
idence than is furnished in this instance, of an extreme of baseness. 

I speak advisedly, and, I trust, without an undue feeling of personal hos- 
tility. Political feelings I have long since discarded as far as is consist- 
ent with the duties we all owe to the society we live in. 

I beg you will not long withhold the product of your interesting labours 
from the public. Give us " the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but 
the truth," and let venal critics and rewarded editors, sometime bedeck- 

3 a 


ed with the ermine, gnaw upon it until their venom fails or their rewards 
cease. Very respectfully, your friend and obedient servant, 

David G. Burnet. 

Austin, January 10th, 1845. 
Dear General, — .... Since the release of our countrymen, prisoners 
in Mexico, I hope there will be nothing to divert your mind from the com- 
pletion of the work in which I found you engaged last spring — I mean 
the journal of your Mier expedition, and the events subsequent to it. I 
have been looking for some time for its announcement as being ready for 
the press. That it will lose any portion of its interest by time I have no 
fear, but still, to cause it to be generally read and more anxiously sought 
after, the incidents which it relates must not become stale on the public 
mind Your friend and servant, James Webb. 

No. VIII. 

The following letter from her Britannic majesty's charge d'affaires, 
Captain Charles Elliott, to Hon. Anson Jones, secretary of state of the 
Republic of Texas, will speak for itself. That both the President and 
secretary of state made these assurances to Captain Elliott they did not 
deny ; but the secretary in answer says, " Whatever has been done, there- 
fore, in relation to this subject, has been in obedience to the requirements of 
their acts" (the Congress). 

Galveston, March 22d, 1844. 
To the Honourable Anson Jones, &c, &c. ) 
Washington, on the Brazos. ) 

The undersigned, her Britannic majesty's charge de affaires to the Re- 
public of Texas, has lately had the honour to acquaint Mr. Jones that her 
majesty's government was engaged in continued efforts to induce the gov- 
ernment of Mexico to acknowledge the independence of Texas ; and he 
has now the gratification to add that renewed communications have taken 
place between the governments of her majesty and that of the King of the 
French, and that his majesty has expressed his concurrence in the pur- 
poses of the queen, and signified his pleasure to command the French 
minister at Mexico to join his continued friendly assistance to that of her 
majesty's representative. 

But, adverting to the proposals of the government of the United States 
respecting annexation, to the recent mission of distinguished citizens of 
Texas to Washington on the Potomac, and to the impression so general 


in Texas that negotiations having that object in view are either in prog- 
ress or in contemplation, the undersigned finds it his duty to express 
the hope that the government of Texas will furnish him with explanations 
on the subject for transmission to her majesty's government. He is sure 
that they will be made in that spirit of frank and friendly unreserve which 
has always characterized the intercourse of the two governments. 

It must be unnecessary to say that the undersigned is perfectly aware 
of the President's personal opinions on this subject, and he has not fail- 
ed, agreeably to the President's wish, to communicate to her majesty's 
government his excellency's determination to sustain the independence 
of the Republic, and his excellency's confident hope that the people would 
uphold him in that course. Indeed, referring to the conferences which 
the undersigned had the honour to have with the President and Mr. Jones 
at Galveston during last autumn, he can suppose that the mission to 
Washington of the gentlemen in question has been directed by a wise 
desire to avoid any cause of offence or irritation to the government of the 
United States, and to explain with frankness that the government of Tex- 
as could not entertain the subject at all, even if all other obstacles were 
removed, after the former rejection of such an arrangement of the Uni- 
ted States, and wholly without reason, to know that the Senate of the 
United States would ratify now or in future. 

The Congress of Texas, however, has met and separated since the 
date of the communications to her majesty's government to which the 
undersigned has referred, and the President will feel with force that it 
is just and necessary, in the present appearance of circumstances, that 
there should be no room for the least uncertainty on the part of the gov- 
ernments engaged in the behalf of Texas at Mexico ; for it is not to be 
supposed that they could continue to press the government of Mexico to 
settle upon one basis while there was any reason to surmise that nego- 
tiations were either in actual existence or in contemplation proposing a 
combination of a totally different nature. It is manifest, on the other 
hand, that a distinct disavowal on the part of the government of Texas 
of any intention to consent to such a scheme, either now or perspective- 
ly, could not fail to strengthen the hands of the ministers of their majes- 
ties, the Queen and the King of the French, at Mexico. 

Confiding in the steadfastness of the people of Texas to the pledges 
in the fundamental acts of their national existence, several of the great 
powers have acknowledged the independence of this Republic, and en- 
tered into treaties with it. While that confidence subsists, it may be de- 
pended upon that the government of her majesty will never relax in its 
friendly efforts to induce the government of Mexico to adjust on the pol- 
icy so forcibly pressed on the attention of her majesty's government by 


the government of Texas, not adopted without mature deliberation by 
her majesty's government, and in their judgment equally necessary for 
the security of Mexico, and the strength and prosperity of Texas. 

The undersigned takes this occasion to renew to Mr. Jones the expres- 
sion of the sentiments of regard and distinguished consideration with 
which he has the honour to remain his faithful and most obedient servant, 
(Signed), Charles Elliott. 

No. IX. 

The following extracts from my journal in 1836, a part of which had 
been copied into " General Foote's History of Texas," will explain Santa 
Anna's unforgiving malignity towards myself : 

"June 1, 1836. — Arrived at Velasco on board the steamer Ocean, in 
company with the schooner Pennsylvania and 230 of my brigade, having 
ordered the remainder, under Major T. W. Ward, to Labacca Bay. Upon 
my arrival, I found a large number of the citizens of the country in great ex- 
citement about Santa Anna's being sent home to Mexico, he being at that 
time on board the ' Invincible^ in the offing, ready to sail. President Burnet 
had sent him on board said vessel to carry out a treaty in good faith, which 
General Samuel Houston had promised upon the battle-field of San Jacinto. 
Still the people of the country believed him (Santa Anna) faithless, and 
clamoured violently against his sailing. Denunciations and violent threats 
were issued both against the President and all who should aid or abet his 
sailing. Public meetings were held, and violent speeches made against 
the measure. In this state of things, President Burnet addressed me a 
note, requesting an interview, and asking my opinion in this emergency. 
I told him that, as to any violence being offered to him or his cabinet, I 
pledged my honour to shield him and them with my life ; but that I was 
of opinion that, in accordance with the overwhelming public will of the 
citizens of the country, he should remand the prisoner ashore, and await 
that public will to determine his fate. The President promptly replied 
that he would do so. 

" Accordingly, the next day, he issued an order to Captain Jeremiah 
Brown, of the Invincible, to bring the prisoner on shore. Santa Anna re- 
turned for answer that he would never leave that vessel alive. A sec- 
ond order was issued, and a similar reply provoked. The President then 
nominated a committee, composed of Colonel B. F. Smith, Baily Harde- 
man, and Generals Hunt and Henderson, to visit the Invincible, and 
bring him ashore. The first-named gentleman refusing to act, the re- 
mainder of the committee called upon me, as the head military officer at 


the post, to accompany them, and bring the prisoner off, according to the 
President's wish. 

" Three o'clock, P.M. — We arrived on board the Invincible, where we 
found the prisoner in a state of extreme agitation, lying in his berth upon 
his back, alternately raving like a madman and crying like a child ; now 
denying that he had any agency in the massacre at Goliad ; anon, threat- 
ening to take away his own life sooner than go ashore, to be delivered up 
to what he called the new army from the United States, which he believed 
to be bent on his destruction. The prisoner continued to act this strange 
part for about two hours ; stating, meanwhile, that he had taken largely 
of opium, and would soon die. I assured him that, if he could rely upon 
the word of an American officer, he might consider me as pledged that 
there was not a soldier under my command who would even do him in- 
sult while under my protection. This declaration had no visible effect in 
dissipating the uneasiness of the prisoner ; and his aid-de-camp, Colonel 
Almonte, finally declared to us that all assurances to him, in his existing 
condition, would be useless, as his mind was entirely under the control 
of an overwhelming dread of popular phrensy ; that he, Colonel Almonte, 
knew the American character well enough to have full confidence in the 
assurances which I had given. All this time the prisoner continued lying 
upon his back in his berth, and his respiration seemed to me exceedingly 
difficult. After waiting some minutes longer, I called the surgeon of the 
Invincible, and requested him to feel the prisoner's pulse, and report his 
true situation. He complied with my request, and reported his pulse to 
be perfectly healthy in its vibrations, when I again intimated to the pris- 
oner the necessity of going ashore. He begged twenty minutes' longer 
respite ; upon which, I announced to the captain that it would be neces- 
sary to send forward his master-of-arms, and have him ironed without 
delay. When the irons were brought within his view, the prisoner im- 
mediately jumped up, adjusted his collar, put on his hat, and stated his 
readiness to accompany us. Upon getting on deck, he saw a sentinel, 
evinced much agitation, and presented his bosom, evidently believing 
that he was about to be put to death. I took his arm, desired him to be 
composed, and conducted him to the captain's gig-boat, into which we 
descended, in company with Mr. Hardeman, Colonel Almonte, and Cap- 
tain Brown, and rowed for the shore ; the other boat bringing the balance 
of the committee, and Santa Anna's private secretary. On reaching the 
mouth of the Brasos River, Santa Anna took fresh alarm at a body of 
Texian soldiers and citizens whom he saw collected upon the beach on 
the Velasco side, and threatened to drown himself if the boat was not 
pulled over to the western bank. I explained to him that the crowd had 
been drawn together by curiosity alone, and intended no violence ; and 


farther suggested that, if he was ambitious of fully acting the character 
of Napoleon the Second (so he styled himself up to his defeat), he could do 
so by taking the Texian flag, which he would find in the stern of the 
boat, and calmly wave it in view of the assembly, in token of his respect 
for the cause which they were pledged to maintain. His countenance 
brightened at the suggestion, and he accordingly took the flag. So soon 
as the boat arrived within about ten paces of the shore, I announced to 
him that then was the time to wave the flag, rising myself at the same 
time, and giving the word to the crowd, ' Three times three V when the 
whole company cheered, while the prisoner attempted tremulously to 
wave it, in which he had to be assisted by Captain Brown, so physically 
unnerved was he for the task. We continued our course up the river, 
passing the schooner Pennsylvania and steamer Ocean, from both of 
which vessels we were cheered. Landing at Quintana, upon the western 
bank, we met President Burnet, and surrendered the prisoner to him. 
The President turned to me and said, ' General Green, I deliver the 
prisoner over to your charge, and shall hold you responsible for his safe 
keeping.' From being the most frightened human being I ever saw, the 
prisoner at once regained confidence and appeared cheerful. The truth 
of my promises had been demonstrated by taking him safely through a 
crowd of citizens and soldiers, whom he thought bent upon his blood. 

" It was now near night, and having ordered my cabin on board the 
steamer to be put in readiness for the reception of the prisoner, we con- 
tinued to walk until our supper was announced. During this walk, I was 
struck with the address both of the prisoner and his interpreter, Colonel 
Almonte, in endeavouring to impress upon me the certainty of his carry- 
ing out the treaty, and the sooner he should reach Mexico, the more 
power he would have in so doing. I took the ground that the people of 
Texas were not convinced of that fact ; and as for myself, that it was 
childish to tell me that there was anything either legally or morally bind- 
ing upon the prisoner to carry out a promise made by him while in duress. 

" At half past six our supper was served. It was as good as money could 
have purchased at the time, and a good one for hungry men. It is true 
that it was not served in as bright metal, and under as many covers as 
my guest was used to in the palace of the Montezumas, but, considering 
his late devastations in Texas, we were lucky in having so good a one. 
It consisted of an abundance of good beefsteaks and gravy, served in a 
bright tin pan, with good bread, and, what was remarkable for this stage 
of our Revolution, a knife and fork each. The tin pan was set upon a 
narrow bench, and my august guest and myself straddled said bench — 
inward face ! — with our knees touching, we cutting, sopping, and eating 
a bountiful meal out of said tin pan ! 


" Colonel Almonte and the private secretary of the prisoner stood by 
in attendance upon him, while my orderly served each of us a pint of 
coffee in tin cups : the said cups, though sufficiently bright inside, were 
quite sooty upon the outside. Holding up my cup, I pleasantly remarked to 
Santa Anna, that, when I visited Mexico, I should expect him to give me 
coffee in brighter metal. Placing his hand upon his heart, in the most 
Christian earnestness he replied, ' Ah ! yes, my dear general, I do long 
for this unfortunate war to be over, and then I want to see you in Mexico, 
where I can reciprocate your kindness.'* 

" In a few days I was ordered, with what forces I had at Velasco, up 
the Brasos to repel an Indian incursion, and turned the prisoner over to 
the President. 

" On the day after I marched from Velasco, Santa Anna made a protest 
to President Burnet against his detention as prisoner, &c, in which much 
of his unjust spite seemed levelled at me. He says, ' I repeat that I 
protest against the President and cabinet's condescension in issuing their 
orders for that measure' (bringing him ashore), ' thereby making a show 
of me before those men, as in former times was done with the chiefs of 
conquered nations, considering them as trophies of their victories : with 
this difference, that in my case a solemn treaty already existed.' It is 
hardly necessary for me to say that President Burnet's answer to said 
protest was triumphant." 

* While a prisoner in Mexico, I related this anecdote to a Mexican officer, and jocularly 
requested him to say to the dictator, his master, " that I had visited Mexico, though not in 
the manner we spoke of at Velasco in 1836." The only answer I ever received was twenty 
pounds of iron, and an order to perform menial labour. Having no power to resist the irons. 
I promptly replied that I would die under any tortures he might choose to inflict upon me 
sooner than submit to the latter degradation. The order was several times repeated, ac- 
companied with severe threats, and my countrymen will bear me witness that it was as 
often resisted with the most open contempt. 


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